Lives at stake: Students compelled to attend classes in dilapidated school

Published: August 22, 2016
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The DEO maintained that they have shifted students to Government Higher Secondary School Bicket Ganj, Mardan but due to the shortage of space they have been compelled to continue classes in the said building. PHOTO: CMS FACEBOOK PAGE

The DEO maintained that they have shifted students to Government Higher Secondary School Bicket Ganj, Mardan but due to the shortage of space they have been compelled to continue classes in the said building. PHOTO: CMS FACEBOOK PAGE

PESHAWAR: The administration of Centennial Model School for Boys Mardan has permitted students to take classes even though cracks have emerged in the walls and roof of the school. The cracks occurred after an earthquake hit the district on October 26, 2015.

At least 600 students from class six to class 10 are enrolled at the institute which is situated on Bank Road.

According to Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), around 110 government schools collapsed and 603 schools in nine districts were partially damaged when the earthquake ripped through  the district.

However, among these 603 damaged schools, one was Government Centennial Model School for Boys in Mardan. A communication and works division engineer inspected the school in November 2015 and declared the school building dangerous. The official directed the school authorities to vacate the damaged portion of the school immediately.

The officials submitted the inspection report, a copy of which is available with The Express Tribune, to district education authorities. However, the school authorities allowed students to attend classes in these rooms despite clear warning.

Call to action

Irshad Khan, a resident of Mardan, whose house is attached with the school building, submitted an application to the chief minister, deputy commissioner, education minister and other authorities concerned to reconstruct the school building as it could collapse. He appealed to the government to reconstruct the school and save the lives of school students and others living near the premises.

Anwar Shah, a parent, said Government Centennial Model School is one of the best schools in Mardan and every parent want to enroll their child in this school.

However, due to its dilapidated condition, they fear for the lives of their children as the building could collapse at any point.

He demanded education minister to resolve the issue otherwise government would be responsible for any human loss.

Official narrative

While speaking to The Express Tribune, District Education Officer Muhammad Siraj Khan said he along with a C&W team inspected the building on August 15.

He added the subdivisional officer issued a certificate stating the cracks are not dangerous for human life until and unless any other incident occurred which aggravates
the situation.

The DEO maintained that they have shifted students to Government Higher Secondary School Bicket Ganj, Mardan but due to the shortage of space they have been compelled to continue classes in the said building.

He said the provincial education minister also asked them the cost of reconstructing the school and construction work would start soon on the premises.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 22nd,  2016.

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