Government Primary School (GPS) Takkar in Mardan needs makeshift rooms to accommodate students due to unavailability of proper classrooms. The girls of Government Girls High School (GGHS) Takkar—one of the most prominent girls schools of Mardan—were shifted to GPS recently due to reconstruction of their old school building. GPS Takkar currently has over 600 girls from surrounding areas who do not have space to sit and learn.
Talking to The Express Tribune over the telephone, GGHS Takkar Principal Nihad said they shifted all their students to GPS Takkar in May due to reconstruction of their school building but the GPS only has eight rooms. “More than 600 girls are tightly squeezed in only eight classrooms and there is a dire need to build shelter rooms and solve the issue,” she added.
Nihad also said there is no room to store office files and house the staff. “We do not even have clean drinking water in the school,” she said.
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Hard to concentrate
Shifa, a student of class nine, said most of her classmates left the school due to various problems, the primary being the lack of proper seating. Nusra Bibi, a student of class eight, told The Express Tribune they cannot concentrate on class lectures since the rooms are overcrowded and noisy. “It is very difficult for the teacher to maintain discipline in the classroom,” said Nusra Bibi.
The teachers seem to concur with Nusra Bibi and one of them said despite the staff’s very best efforts, maintaining decorum is a major concern. The teacher added that it is also extremely tough to give students adequate attention and ensure they learn and submit work on time.
Ali Tab, the school clerk, said, “While checking classrooms early one April morning, following a stormy night, I found some bricks and concrete had fallen off the roof.” He said he informed the principal about it immediately but not much has been done. “The staff either sits in the corridor or the garden,” he said, adding, “There is no space for students or teachers and this is a grave concern for everybody.”
Tab said GGHS will be reconstructed in two years and the girls will remain in eight rooms of GPS till then.
The parents also feel worried about the future of their children. One of the parents, Zahoorul Haq, said the school management accommodates more than 70 girls per class which is a very large number to teach in one sitting. “Learning in such an environment will not be easy at all,” he said.
One of the school officials, requesting anonymity, said, “The school was built in 1912 for boys and was reserved for girls after the government constructed another school for boys.”
He said the building was vacated in May 2015 because it had many defects and faults and was no longer safe. “Most of the girls took their school leaving certificates and left GGHS – some went to another school and some bid goodbye to education,” he added. The official added now that they have shifted to another school, other problems had emerged which needed to be dealt.
Beacon of hope
K-P Elementary and Secondary Education Department Additional Secretary Qaiser Alam said they have added the old GGHS building in the PC1 list for renovation and the new building will have more classrooms, proper IT labs and playgrounds. “It is our first priority to rebuild infrastructure and to provide standardised facilities,” Alam added.
Mardan DEO Samina Ghani said girls had been accommodated in the GPS because they did not want to risk staying in a dangerous building. “Their education must not stop and even though accommodation is an issue, it is a temporary one that will be resolved very soon,” she added.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 6th, 2015.
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