LAHORE: Announcing its new educational policy, the Punjab government on Thursday confirmed a ban on the appointment of women teachers in higher schools of boys. The announcement was made by the ruling Pakistan Nawaz League’s (PML-N) Parliamentary Secretary for Schools Education Julias Rofin during the Question Hour when she was asked about appointment of some senior cadre female teachers in the Central Model High School for Boys. She informed the House that the government had adopted the policy of appointment of Senior Wing’s women teachers in boys’ schools in 2011 for improvement in educational system. However, the decision was reversed in 2017-18. The Parliamentary secretary also ensured the Hosue that according to the new policy adopted by the PML-N government in Punjab, women teachers would not be appointed in the higher schools. The mover of the question was Dr Waseem Akhtar, who belonged to opposition benches. The Punjab Assembly session started on Thursday an hour and 38 minutes late from its scheduled time. Speaker Rana Iqbal Khan chaired the session. Soon after reciting of holy verses of Quran and Naat, the question hour started regarding Schools Education Department. Answering a question about providing funds to the madrassas for construction of buildings and for purchasing of land in Jhang district, the Parliamentary secretary replied that there were a total of seven schools that lacked buildings. The government has allocated fund of Rs 42 million in the annual budget of fiscal 2017-18 for construction of four buildings of madrassas. She also informed the House that three other madrassas were also functioning in rented buildings as they had no land, too. To a question raised by Dr Noshin Hamid of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) about missing facilities in educational institutes, the Parliamentary secretary accepted that as many as 201 schools in the Jhang district had no boundary walls, but now the feasibility report for boundary walls of 61 schools had been passed and they would be constructed soon. On a point of order, Sardar Shahabuddin of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Dr Waseem highlighted the problems facing sugarcane growers and claimed that the sugar mills were not purchasing sugarcane on fixed government rates of Rs 180 per 40 kilogram. They also said that despite issuing cane procurement receipts (CPR) on government rate, the amount was not being paid to the growers. Dr Waseem also held a token boycott of the assembly proceedings, but later returned to the House. Responding to the issue, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah accepted that sugar mill owners had refused to accept government rates of sugarcane as they did not match with the price of white sugar in the open market which was approximately 45 to 47 rupees per kilogram. He informed the House that a special meeting with the sugar mill owners had been called to settle the issue of sugarcane rates. He also offered both the opposition members to join the said meeting and to help resolve the matter. Interestingly, one of the treasury member, Mian Aslam Islam, stood on his bench on a point of order and claimed that he had a CPR showing a rate of just Rs 130 per 40 kilogram from the Hamza Sugar Mills and could also prove that the mills were paying lower rates to growers against the tall claims of the government. On this, the law minister confirmed that it was a violation of the law and he would advise to the Punjab cane commissioner to register a case against the culprit. An opposition member then pointed out the quorum. The speaker then adjourned the session till Friday (today). Published in Daily Times, February 9th2018.