The education department of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) will launch an enrollment drive for schools from September 8 – commemorated worldwide as International Literacy Day.
Fata Education Department Additional Director Manzar Ali Sajid said the drive aims to enroll all children aged five and above. “The literacy in Fata is lower than all other parts of the country. But special focus will be on female education besides enrolling boys in schools,” Sajid told The Express Tribune.
According to statistics available with the Fata Education Department, literacy rate in the tribal belt is 36.66% for males and 10.5% for females, informed Sajid. He added Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Governor Shaukatullah Khan has taken an initiative of running double shifts in schools wherein boys schools can accommodate girls and vice versa.
“Due to limited resources and many children, we are intending to enroll boys in the evening shift and girls in the morning,” said Sajid. “We’re trying to further facilitate the 600,000 children who go to schools, but our foremost priority is to make them literate.”
FATA Education Statistics 2012-13
SOURCE: FATA EDUCATION DEPARTMENT
Of the 477 schools destroyed in militancy in Fata, Sajid said 150 are being reconstructed. He added they are being reconstructed with the help of the Pakistan Army, Fata Special Support Programme, Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), Association for the Development of Pakistan (ADP) along with other organisations.
Not all schools have been destroyed by militancy. The education department data shows 606 out of the 5,625 schools in Fata have been destroyed – some by natural disasters and other calamities.
Furthermore, 6,000 out of a total of 20,335 teachers employed in the sector are not performing their duties due to law and order issues. Of these teachers, 13,889 are males while only 6,446 are females.
Agency-wise data reveals Mohmand is the worst-hit, with 117 schools destroyed. Bajaur follows, with 87 schools destroyed in the agency. Kurram and Khyber have suffered a loss of 78 and 64 schools, respectively.
Among Frontier Regions (FRs), FR Kohat has the highest number of schools destroyed – 28. FR Peshawar, on the other hand, follows with 12.
Interestingly, militancy-hit South Waziristan has registered a comparatively lower figure, with only 11 schools destroyed in the agency. North Waziristan has remained free of such attacks.
Sajid said they have proposed the concept of hujra schools, which he maintained could play a more far-reaching and vital role in children’s education than community schools. He urged tribesmen, media and civil society to support the department’s efforts and pave a way to fight militancy in Fata.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 8th, 2013.