High achievers still awaiting promised reward

KARACHI:25 December: Amid a string of broken promises, the Sindh government has not fulfilled its pledge to reward students who secure A-1 grades in their Intermediate and Matriculation examinations.

Thousands of hardworking students enrolled in government schools and colleges who scored more than 80% in their exams are looking to the chief minister for implement of his earlier decision to reward them for their good grades. Presenting the budget for current fiscal year, Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah had surprised students by introducing a reward of Rs100,000 for A-1 grades. The government had even earmarked Rs750 million in the budget for the rewards but the scheme seems to have been confined entirely to the books.

“I have gotten 83% this year and have also approached the chairperson of our board to get the reward money, but nothing has been done,” lamented Faiza Rehman, a student who just completed her pre -medical Intermediate in Karachi. Faiza has lost all hopes of getting the reward but her father Aleem Rehman still visits the board office. “The chairperson has assured us that the money will be given to all competent students. They have sent the list to the authorities concerned, but nothing has been done so far,” he said.

Aakash is the only student of Government Higher Secondary School Bin Qasim, Karachi to secure an A-1 grade with 81%. Like the other high-achievers he is disappointed with the government’s lack of action. “Nothing will happen. My father said politicians only give statements, they don’t implement them,” he explained disappointedly.

‘Seek education to better serve your country’

This dismal situation is not limited to Karachi; no high-achievers in the rest of Sindh have received rewards either.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Board of Secondary Education Karachi Chairperson Dr Saeeduddin said that around 25,000 students have secured A-1 grades in the province and they have asked the higher authorities to expedite their rewards. “We have forwarded lists of all the students and this case is under process,” he said, adding that the total reward amount for these students stands at Rs160 million. “We heard that the reward amount has been reduced to Rs25,000. But no one has officially conveyed this to us,” he added.

The same version came from Professor Inam Ahmed, chairperson of the Board of Intermediate Education Karachi. He said, “Apart from this, the government has not released the students’ fee fund to the boards,” he complained. Prof Ahmed said the government had announced that it would waive enrolment and exam fees for all public school students in Sindh but finance department has yet to release the amount. “The annual exam fee of students in government colleges ranges from Rs1,600 to Rs1,800. As per government policy we have waived this fee and received exam forms free of cost,” he explained. “The same thing happens with those students who have gotten admission,” he said, adding that this amount is in millions but funds have not been released to the education boards.

An official of the education department said, on the basis of anonymity, that the government has also allocated Rs2 billion under the fee waiver programme but it will take time to release the funds.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Education Minister Jam Mahtab Hussain Dahar said that he was not aware about any updates on the chief minister’s announcement regarding the reward money but assured that it would be implemented. “I am not sure but I think a few students have been given reward money,” he said.

Contempt notice issued to secretary education

When asked about the ‘fee fund’, the education minister said, “Yes, the government has announced to waive exams fee for all government colleges and schools but I am not sure about the enrollment fee”. He added that the issue will be resolved soon.

Mohammad Hassan Ahsan, a student of Adamjee Government Science College, is among the top three position holders in Karachi. He secured 90% in his Intermediate examinations. “I thought the government will give more than Rs100,000 reward to those who have topped in Karachi, but our dream of getting Rs100,000 has also been dashed due to lack of implementation on the CM’s announcement.”Express Turbuni.