PESHAWAR: After a two-year hiatus, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government’s Rs2.6 billion initiative to offer monthly stipends to students of government schools in combined tribal districts is still in the works.

According to sources, the Elementary and Secondary Education (E&SE) Department has been debating only how to implement the stipend scheme since it was approved in the Annual Development Program (ADP) for the fiscal year 2019-20.

According to them, the federal government-sponsored the initiative through the Accelerated Implementation Program to promote student enrollment and reduce the number of out-of-school children in the militancy-affected former Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Khyber, Mohmand, Bajaur, Kurram, Orakzai, South Waziristan, and North Waziristan are among the seven combined districts.

In the ADP for the fiscal year 2019-20, the program was approved. Under the scheme, each girl student from nursery to secondary school will receive a monthly stipend of Rs1, 000, while boys in primary schools will receive Rs500 and secondary school students will receive Rs 1, 000. Since the scheme was not enforced, 631,376 students in government schools, including 174,032 girls, were denied the intended stipend.

Read more: CM Mehmood Khan orders timely completion of uplift projects

According to official data of the E&SE Department, of the total students in government school’s 130,322 students are enrolled in Bajaur district, 60,962 in Mohmand, 108,609 Khyber, 36,516 Orakzai, 75,192 Kurram, 85,011 North Waziristan and 45661 South Waziristan besides those in different subdivisions, including 14,774 enrolled in Hassan Khel subdivision, 174, 59 Darra Adamkhel, 26,544 Wazir, 7,008 Bitani, 13,265 Jandola and 10,053 in Darra Zinda subdivision.

Shahram Khan Tarakai, the Minister of E&SE, was unavailable for comment. However, a senior education department official told Dawn that officials considered many options for disbursing the stipend but determined that they were unfeasible in the current situation in erstwhile Fata.

Various stipend programs, he said, had been operating in the province’s settled districts for a long time and were either disbursed through Pakistan Post’s regional offices or banks.

According to the official, the concept of disbursing stipend through Pakistan Post was abandoned because Pakistan Post had not established offices in the merged districts.

Easy paisa, a money transfer service offered by cellular companies, was another choice for paying the students. This idea was also shelved for the time being, he said because most of the combined districts’ areas lacked cell phone and internet access.

Stay tuned with Tajarat Property for more updates or information about the top-notch real estate projects like Blue World City.