Empty desks: Five teachers for five students at girls school in suburb of Peshawar

Location of school in Badhaber makes parents apprehensive


Ahtesham Khan January 30, 2016
The deserted premises of Government Girls Model School Arhat Koruna. PHOTOS: EXPRESS

PESHAWAR: There are countless schools in the city where the dearth of teachers has made it difficult to educate a large number of students.

However, the situation appears to have been reversed at Government Girls Model School Arhat Koruna in Badhaber. Although the institute is well-equipped with teachers, it only has five students and is waiting to enrol more pupils. Romana, the principal of the school, told The Express Tribune she wants more students to be enrolled at the school.

“If this doesn’t happen, then teachers currently employed here should be hired at other educational facilities closer to urban areas,” she said. “Many of them travel long distances to come to school.”

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Room for more

The school has been constructed on 0.5 acres of land. The building has nine rooms, out of which seven are kept locked. There are three students in class seven and two in class six. Insiders familiar with the matter told The Express Tribune there were two teachers and no students at the institute between 2010 and 2014.

However, the number of teachers has now increased to five. Rukayya Shah, one of the teachers at the school, has a double masters and a gold medal to her credit. But only a few students have been enrolled at the school.

Sameera, a student of class seven, said she hopes more students are enrolled at the institute so that she has friends to play with. “The school looks empty and there is always silence on the premises,” she said. “I only have two classmates.” Aiman, another student of class seven, said, “We are afraid of coming to the school in the morning as there is no one in the locality.”

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She added, “Two years ago, two other girls and I took admission in the school and since then the number of students in the school has not changed.”

According to Aiman, there is no cafeteria in the school and the science laboratory lacks equipment.

Standing still

According to insiders, the education department has shown interest in upgrading the facility into a high school. However, this plan has yet to materialise.

Although there are just a few students at the institute, funds have been allocated for the school’s development.

The new block of the school was constructed in 2014, but has yet to be inaugurated. Locals believe status of the school should be upgraded now that the new block has been constructed.

Zad Wali, a resident of Mashu Gagar, said the school’s new block was not made to benefit students. “[The new block] was made for the sole purpose of corruption,” he added.

Wali added the school should be upgraded to a high school so that girls of the area are able to complete their studies from the same school instead of going to remote areas to get an education. When contacted, Ulfat Begum, a female district education officer, said, “The enrolment at the school remains low due to security concerns.”

She added, “A special effort was made last year to enrol more students at the school and we are still trying to do so.” The chances of the school being upgraded into a high school remain slim. According to insiders, a school must have 50 students to be upgraded. However, under the current circumstances, increasing the number of students at Government Girls Model School Arhat Koruna appears to be a distant dream.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 31st, 2016.

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