NABEEL ANWAR DHAKKU
CHAKWAL: The Punjab government has converted Chakwal’s historic Government High School No 1 into centre of excellence which will be run by the Punjab Daanish Schools and Centres of Excellence Authority.
The building of the school built by Sardar Chet Singh, Sardar Harbans Singh and their other friends in 1910 was demolished last year after being declared dangerous by the district administration. The new building is being constructed with an estimated cost of Rs45 million. The authority will take over the school in September.
The Punjab government set up the Punjab Daanish Schools and Centres of Excellence Authority in February 2010 through an act passed by the Punjab Assembly in a bid to impart quality education to the poor but bright students free of cost. According to the act, the authority was tasked to establish Daanish Schools and to notify the existing public schools as Centre of Excellence in the province.
Daanish schools authority will take over the school in Sept
However, the school teachers and district organiser of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf vowed to oppose the move to hand over the school to the authority. They were of the view that as a result of the move the school would not only lose its historic status but put the future of hundreds of poor students and school’s teachers at stake.
But MNA retired Major Tahir Iqbal and Managing Director Monitoring and Implementation of the authority retired Col Junaid Shamim while addressing a press conference dispelled the impression that the school would lose its historic status.
MNA Tahir Iqbal, who tried his best to get the school converted into Centre of Excellence, assured that the name of the school would remain the same but only the phrase “centre of excellence” would be bracketed with it.
“The school will be called as Government High School No 1(Centre of Excellence) Chakwal,” he maintained.
He said that as a Centre of Excellence the school would have state of the art facilities and would be equal to any elite school of a private sector. “|A student will pay only Rs 20 as monthly fee at Centre of Excellence and this is the same fee which a student pays at a public sector school,” he added.
He said that he wanted to have a Daanish School for Chakwal but according to the policy of the authority only one Daanish school could be set up within an area of 200km. “As there is already a Daanish School in Attock district that is why another school could not be set up in Chakwal district. That is why I tried my best to get this school converted into Centre of Excellence for our students who will be able to get quality education free of cost,” he maintained.
“Those who say that the children of the poor parents will not be able to get admission at these schools due to heavy fee are totally wrong. Actually these schools are purely for the children of the poor and marginalised strata of the society,” Mr Iqbal said.
He said besides the existing building another building having 32 classrooms and admin block would be constructed soon at its vast ground.
Managing director of the authority retired Col Junaid Shamim said that authority was set to establish 76 Daanish Schhols in the province 38 for boys and 38 for girls while so far 14 schools had been established.
He added that similarly 76 public schools 38 of boys and 38 of girls would be converted into centres of excellence.
At Daanish Schools 30pc seats are reserved for those students whose parents are living below the poverty line while 70pc seats are to be filled on open merit from across the province, he said. He added that teachers and principals would be selected from the existing teachers but on merit.
“Teachers and principals of these Daanish Schools and centres of excellence will draw handsome salaries,” he said.
Published in Dawn, June 18th, 2016