Over 2,500 schools to be upgraded in Punjab by 2008

ISLAMABAD, Oct 2: Around 2,500 schools will be upgraded in Punjab under the Punjab Education Sector Reform Programme (PESRP) by the end of next year, an official said on Monday.

Giving details, he told reporters that under the programme around 1,526 primary schools would be elevated to middle level and 979 middle schools to high level.

So far, 905 schools had been upgraded since the start of the project in 2004, he said.

"Out of the total upgraded schools, 726 primary schools were given status of middle school while 179 middle schools were ungraded to high level," he added.

He said under the programme priority was being given to elementary schools, with special focus on women's education in underdeveloped districts of the province. "Raising the status of 392 female primary schools to the middle level in comparison with 334 male schools and 132 female middle schools to high level in comparison with 47 male schools is a testimony to this fact," he said.

He observed that education, the key agent for social development, had been the priority agenda for the Punjab Government during the last five years. "Today due to upgradation of educational institutes and introduction of other reforms, the province was well on its way to implement a holistic, sector-wise reform strategy," he said.

He said under the PESRP, a sum of Rs 17.5 billion had been allocated during 2003-06 to provide missing facilities in schools. While around 27 million free textbooks had been provided on annual basis to about 11 million students of government and the Punjab Education Foundation (PEF) partner schools from Class Nursery to Matric.

Around 350,000 female students of fifteen low literacy districts, from Class 5th to 10th, have been given monthly stipend of Rs 200 on quarterly basis contingent upon 80 percent school attendance, he said.

"In order to improve the evaluation system, Punjab Examination Commission has also been established for examination of Class 5th to Class 8th all over the province as per latest techniques," he added. App

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