The ‘Insaf Afternoon School Program’ in Punjab is on the verge of closure as more than 7,000 schools operating under the initiative have not received funds since the start of this year.
Thousands of teachers and their families are suffering as they have not received salaries since January this year. The program will be shut down permanently if the incumbent Punjab government fails to release funds this month.
Speaking in this regard, a spokesperson for the School Education Department (SED) Punjab said that the provincial government is facing a shortage of funds to finance Insaf schools. The salaries will be disbursed as soon as the government issues funds, the spokesperson assured.
The clarification from SED Punjab’s spokesperson contradicts the facts. It is because the incumbent Punjab government has recently released Rs. 3.5 billion for government schools operating under SED Punjab. On the other hand, the government is making excuses regarding the funding of Insaf schools.
Former Chief Minister Punjab, Sardar Usman Buzdar, had launched the Insaf Afternoon School Program under Article 25-A of the 1973 Constitution. This specific clause ensures free and compulsory education to children up to the age of 16 years.
The program envisioned providing an equitable education to out-of-school children in areas with high drop-out rates and where access to schools is a huge challenge.