Punjab government to handover 5,000 public primary schools to NGOs, CSOs for ‘quality’ education
The move to help government save Rs 4.6 billion annually!
By Khalid Khattak
The Punjab government has planned to run 5,000 public sector primary schools under the public-private partnership (PPP) model in a phased manner. Initially, the government has announced this partnership for 1,000 schools.
The government claims the move is aimed at ensuring quality education at these identified schools where quality of education is ‘very poor’ as compared to other public schools.
But wait, there is more to this than just the ‘quality’ slogan. By involving private sector the Punjab government will also be saving an estimated amount of over Rs 4.6 billion annually!
The government is presently bearing a cost of around Rs 1,500 per child per month in public schools with no fee being charged from the students. However under the PPP model the government has announced to pay Rs 550 per child per month to private parties to run these public schools.
The government is also offering extra financial assistance as the ‘management cost’ to good partners. Those privy to the development believe that even with this ‘management cost’ per child cost the government will be bearing under the PPP model will not exceed Rs 800 per month. Thus the government will be saving Rs 700 per child per month even if Rs 800 is considered its total cost per child per month under the PPP mode.
There are over 4,000,000 (4 million) students in 36,000 public-sector primary schools of Punjab province so on an average each primary school has an enrolment of 111 children.
In this way roughly enrolment at the 5,000 schools is 555,000 and the total estimated cost the government is bearing to provide education to these students at public schools is over Rs 832 million per month. Therefore by running 5,000 public schools under the public-private partnership the Punjab government on average will be spending over Rs 444 million and saving over Rs 388 million per month. On a yearly basis this amount becomes a whopping Rs 4.6 billion!
Why quality education in Rs 800 and not in Rs 1,500 per month?
Now the question is how private sector will ensure quality education for Rs 550 or Rs 800 per child per month when the government can’t ensure this with Rs 1,500 per month?
If the private sector can do this for Rs 550 or Rs 800 then certainly there is a problem of management with the government. Should it address this management issue or simply handover public schools to private sector?
A detailed report about this issue was published in The News on December 14, 2015. However the report could not appear in the online edition.
Following is the Punjab government’s advertisement about the PSSP which appeared in different newspapers on December 13, 2015.