ISLAMABAD: Resolving the longstanding issue of payment of dues to teachers of Basic Education Community Schools (BECS), the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on Wednesday approved a payment of Rs4.058 billion so as to clear the salaries and other dues of as many as 12,175 teachers.
The payment that will clear previous liabilities and six months expenses of the current fiscal year up to December 2018, was sanctioned during a meeting of ECNEC which was presided over by Finance Minister Asad Umar.
Matters pertaining to BECS, including its operations in the country, were also discussed in detail during the meeting. The participants of the meeting were informed that most of the required funds would go against the payment of salaries to the teachers until December 2018 besides about Rs477 million on other liabilities.
BECS is based on non-formal basic education system where the community provides for the premises while expenses on teachers’ honorarium, utility bills, textbooks etc are met by the federal government.
According to the details the project originally planned for five years, it is under implementation since 1995 in areas where formal schools are not available and covers all provinces on the basis of need determined by a physical survey of the identified location.
The total enrolment in these schools is about 463,198 and 56 per cent of the students are female whereas each school has roughly 30 students of ages 4-16. A single teacher is responsible for all the classes of the school by adopting multi-grade teaching methods based on the formal school curriculum.
The project was started with an initial cost of Rs1.26bn in 1995 for five years and then revised to Rs11.2bn from 1998-2003. The project was once again approved by ECNEC in 2007 at a revised cost of Rs7bn with implementation period from 2006 to 2010.
The project was then approved in 2014 at a revised cost of Rs4.28bn for period 2013-16. Another phase was approved in July 2017 at another revised cost of Rs3bn. The sponsoring agency – the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training – has now come up with six months’ salary and liabilities as a new project.
About Rs1.2bn are already allocated in the current year’s PSDP. The planning commission has, however, objected to the project on the grounds that it should now be adopted by provinces, for which a case should be immediately taken up at the level of Council of Common Interests (CCI) so that provinces take care of the teachers.