Students perturbed over lack of transport facility

* Most FDE-run educational institutions likely to suspend shuttle service due to lack of funds
Students perturbed over lack of transport facility

ISLAMABAD: Insufficient transport facility to cater to the needs of students of educational institutions working under the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) is causing inconvenience to them, especially during the CNG suspension days.
The buses for all the model and FG institutions, only around 120 in number, are not enough to pick and drop thousands of students in the 422 educational institutions.
The students, who are blessed ones to avail this facility, are uncertain about the continuity of this facility as institutions cannot manage fuel from their own resources after abolition of transport fee by the authorities. 
Shagufta, a parent, said the transport facility is just available for the students in specific sectors of the capital and the students living in the newly developed sectors have no option but to rely on public transport or private vehicles, putting financial burden on them. 
The authorities must expand this facility along with making it accessible for the students of far-flung areas, she added. 
Another parent, Umer Shafique, said, “We have been conveyed by the institutions that the transport facility will be no more, as they have no funds to manage the fuel.”
“The school and college buses ply only on specific routes and my children always use local transport to reach their college,” he said.
Professor Tahir Mehmood, a lecturer at an FG college, said a large number of students travel by public transport, as their respective institutions are unable to provide transport to all the students. 
He said some students lost their lives in accidents while travelling on the roofs of the buses to reach their institutions. 
A lecturer of one of these colleges informed that it would be difficult for these institutions to manage fuel for the buses during the coming month. “The authorities must arrange a special grant for the transport facility in the institutions, as it is the basic need of the students.”
Former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, in the teachers’ package during his tenure, had issued directives for improving transport facility with the help of the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration, he said. 
Talking to APP, FDE Planning and Development (P&D) Director Ashraf Nadeem said the directorate had drafted a proposal after conducting need-based assessment in all the institutions for acquiring more buses separately for female teachers and students.
“The directorate has gathered data of required transport facility from all the educational institutions. We cannot forward this proposal to the Planning Commission unless the ban on purchase of new vehicles is lifted by the government,” he added.
He said the directorate did not have any centralised data about the number of buses in these institutions as some colleges are having one or two buses and there are some which have around 15 buses. 
About the transport fee, he said the colleges had abolished the transport fee as per the directives of the Ministry of Capital Administration and Development (CAD) in line with the implementation of Article 25-A of the constitution. 

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