In shocking news, Sindh is purchasing schools desks for reportedly Rs. 29, 500. Transparency International Pakistan (TIP) approached Sindh Chief Minister (CM), Murad Ali Shah, with the complaint that the provincial education department is allegedly purchasing desks for public schools at a 320% higher rate.
As a result, the high cost of desks is causing a loss of billions of rupees to the public fund. According to TIP, the provincial School Education and Literacy Department (SELD) awarded contracts at rates between Rs. 23, 985 to Rs. 29,500 per desk.
Interestingly, TIP stated that responsive bidders offered tender prices between Rs. 5,700 to Rs. 6,860 per desk, inclusive of all taxes. However, for unknown reasons, SELD did not award contracts. Due to the highly inflated prices, the treasury is suffering a loss of about Rs. 3.3 billion.
TIP also stated that SELD deliberately prepared highly inflated engineering estimates of Rs. 24,500 per desk as their market price. Regarding the alleged corruption, TIP urged the CM to take action against the officers of the department concerned. Moreover, the government should hold the contractors accountable as well.
The dire condition of schools in Sindh
The condition of public schools in Sindh is in a devastating state. Therefore, Sindh will shut down 10,000 schools.
Speaking to the media on Friday, Sindh Education Minister Sardar Ali Shah announced that in the first phase, the province will close 7000 schools. After that, it will shut down 3000 more.
“Closing these educational institutions will help the government focus on the 40,000 active schools in the province. It will also save money which will be invested in other projects of the department,” he added.
Regarding this point, Monday, Haleem Adil Sheikh pointed out Sindh’s failure to implement the Single National Curriculum (SNC). Moreover, he also highlighted the dire conditions of schools in Sindh.
According to reports, there are 19,000 schools without toilets. About 31,000 schools have no electricity. 26,000 schools did not have the facility of safe and clean drinking water. 5000 schools also do not have proper infrastructure.