–Under construction building, unavailability of teaching, non-teaching staff causes woes
LAHORE: Due to lack of efficiency, the establishment of a special education centre in Sargodha failed to accomplish its objectives whereas the hiring of staff for the project and shifting the centre in new building faces delay.
Inside sources in Punjab’s Special Education Department said the project titled “Establishment of Government Special Education Centre Sargodha” was part of a scheme to provide educational facilities to the special students of four kinds of disabilities: hearing impaired, visually impaired, physically disabled and mentally challenged, near to their place of residence.
“The prime responsibility of Special Education Department is to ensure the maximum coverage of 605,695 of school going special children (05 to 19 years) as per census 1998,” sources were quoted as saying.
In line with the vision, the special education centre was established in Sargodha during 2017 to provide education up to primary level to school going children with disabilities, sources said adding that the department was aimed to provide education to these students in separate classrooms and qualified teaching staff of the relevant disability in the same institution.
Sources said, “At the initial stage, the centre was to cater educational needs of fifty (50) students. To operate and carry out the project, twenty-one (21) posts were proposed with the addition of a rented building through District Education Authority.”
The Directorate General Monitoring and Evaluation (DGM&E) has also issued a report on the said project on March 4, 2019, which states, “The target enrolment of students defined in PC-I was fifty (50) students during the initial stage of the project. On the other hand, as per documents provided by the school administration shows that till the date of evaluation date only thirty-four (34) students were enrolled and two (02) children were under observation.”
The report further states, “The record of provision of summer uniform with shoes undersigned by the parents of special children was provided by the department; on the other hand, most of the children were not wearing uniforms due to unavailability of winter uniform (said headmistress). Similarly, the record provided showed that stipend was given to only eight (08) children for two and three months only. Department needs to clarify the provision of uniforms teaching aid and other accessories to remaining children.”
“During the site visit, most of the procured items were placed in store in a scattered and unorganised manner which may cause damage to the assets. The hiring of staff (headmaster/ headmistress, speech therapist, psychologist, drawing master, qari, music teacher, vocational teacher, junior clerk, driver, conductor, naib qasid, chowkidar, mali, aya, sweepers) proposed as per PC-I was not carried out till the visit of DGM&E team. The staff from other institutions was transferred to the facility and record of any advertisement for hiring new staff was not provided by the project team. Therefore, this cannot be concluded that the project is complete. Whereas two of the teachers transferred from other schools joined after the project completion date had matured. The procurement plan showing planned dates of advertisement and other procurement processes was not provided by the concerned department. Therefore, any mechanism for the monitoring of same was not found,” the report reveals.
It says, “The condition of rented building was poor structurally as well as architecturally. The special education centre was opened in an old building and rent of the building was Rs. 30,000 per month. Excessive cracks were observed in the building. Barbed wire was fixed in the outer wall of the building whereas the condition of street was poor. The plot in front of special education centre was empty and full of trash. Proper space for the students was not found as one of the classes was being held in the kitchen of the building. The facilities of clean drinking water, sanitation and hygiene were not up to standards at the centre. The washrooms were not re-designed according to disability status if special students and proper cleanliness was not practiced at the centre.”
While talking to Pakistan Today, centre’s headmistress Uzma said, “We have almost completed the hiring of staff and also trying to shift in new building but no building owner is ready to rent his building for government project due to the delays in the procedure of getting rent. We have also completed the target of enrollment of students.”