PESHAWAR: Walls have been constructed out of shawls at Government Girls Middle School (GGMS) Narshak in Shahbaz Garhi union council (UC) in Mardan as little has been done to reconstruct walls to secure the premises.
The school has around 200 students. The building, which was constructed in 1990, does not have any boundary walls since the structure collapsed five years ago. Now, students and teachers have managed to make curtain from their own shawls to cover their school.
Teachers of the school have blamed the education department for not taking notice of the issue. They have written several letters to Mardan education district officer (EDO) but their efforts have not borne fruit.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, Shan Zeb, a resident of Shahbaz Garhi said, “This UC is part of PK-30 which is Minister for Education Muhammad Atif Khan’s constituency and the provincial education minister talks about development when he is not even aware of the schools in his area.”
He said a majority of people from the area belonged to low-income households and could not afford education expenses of their children.
“Moreover, the government gave no consideration to the development of the region whatsoever,” he added.
According to Zeb, people in the locality were not comfortable sending their daughters to the school.
“There is a high school for boys adjacent to GGMS Narshak and due to a lack of boundary wall, the girls and teachers fell exposed and insecure,” he added. Zeb requested the relevant authorities to take notice of the issue and construct boundary walls immediately.
Disincentive to learn
Arif Muhammad, a NGO representative, told The Express Tribune a majority of parents in the area did not allow their daughters to go to school where girls did not have adequate cover.
“This is depriving hundreds of girls from getting an education in the district,” he said.
Arif added the boundary walls of all schools in the district need to be raised as soon as possible.
“Some walls need reconstruction as there is no verandah in some schools and students sit and stand in the shade provided by the walls,” he said.
According to Arif, almost all schools in the UC required desks and chairs for students while over 80% of them have inadequate furniture for teachers. “The provision of equipment should be done on a priority basis,” he said.
Arif added 80% of schools in Shahbaz Garhi had inadequate toilet facilities, 70% were without electricity while 60% did not have clean drinking water.
During his speech in Mardan last month, Muhammad Atif said Tameer-e-School Programme was a revolutionary step under which K-P government will spend Rs320 million on providing missing facilities in government schools in the district.
When contacted, Mardan EDO Samina Ghani said a district-wise survey of girls schools was completed and all missing facilities in the buildings was taken note of.
She admitted some schools in the district do not have raised boundary walls. Ghani added she had visited schools in Shahbaz Garhi and had taken note of which school’s boundary walls needed reconstruction.
The EDO added GGMS Narshak was their priority and facilities will be provided very soon.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 2nd, 2016.