PESHAWAR: Despite the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government’s claim of record spending on education and Imran Khan saying that 34,000 students dropped out of private schools to enrol in public schools, official documents paint a dismal picture of the on-ground situation.
The latest report of the K-P education department’s Independent Monitoring Unit (IMU) shows that 11% of the province’s schools are without proper boundary walls. There are 27,506 government schools in K-P of which 27,261 are functional, according to the government’s Annual Statistical Report of Government Schools 2015-16. Taking the IMU report’s 11% figure into account, nearly 3,000 out of the functional schools have no boundary walls – one of the basic protections for students a school can have.
The IMU report based on data collected in June states that 65 per cent of schools in Torghar – the most underdeveloped district in K-P – are without boundary walls, followed by 60 per cent of schools in Kohistan, 24 per cent in Shangla, 19 per cent in Battagram, 15 per cent in Mansehra, and 14 per cent in Chitral and Abbottabad.
Moreover, 11 per cent of schools in the province lack functioning toilets, 17 per cent lack clean drinking water facilities and 31 per cent are without electricity, according to the report.
This is in stark contrast to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led government’s claims of ‘record development projects’ in the education sector and despite the government’s increased allocation for the education sector – Rs138 billion this fiscal year compared to Rs61 billion allocated by the previous provincial government.
K-P Elementary and Secondary Education Minister Muhammad Atif Khan maintains that the PTI government has done much more development work in the education sector in the last four years of its rule than last 60 years combined.
In a post on his official Facebook page, Khan said the previous government constructed boundary walls and additional rooms in a few schools, while the incumbent government had constructed walls around 14,000 schools and made toilets available in 5,000 schools.
He added the government purchased 1.4 million chairs at cost of Rs4 billion for government school students, and while in the past there has been no concept of play area in public schools, his government made such areas in 5,000 schools so students can pursue extracurricular activities on campus.
According to Khan, in the last four years, Rs121 billion has been spent to provide missing facilities in schools and the government was continuing to work to fulfill all other unmet needs.