SHABQADAR: Teachers and students from the government schools along with local education officials and residents marched through Ghallanai on Friday to raise awareness about the importance of education as the local education department launched a fresh enrolment drive in the area.
The march and the drive were part of World Literacy Day events in the tribal area where the government is hoping to enrol as many as 15,000 out-of-school children in government-run schools by the end of the academic year 2017-18.
Teachers and students from the Govt Higher Secondary School Ghallanai and officials from the Mohmand education department walked through the agency headquarters. The students held aloft banners and placard highlighting the importance of literacy.
They also chanted slogans calling for enroling every child into schools: “admit all children to schools”.
Mohmand Agency Education Officer Fareedullah Wazir said that they have so far enroled around 12,000 out-of-school children in the first phase of their enrolment drive between April 15 to May 15, 2017.
Among these newly enroled students, 1,500 were those who had switched from private schools to government-run schools in the agency.
Wazir said that they had launched the second phase of their drive on September 8 within which they were aiming to enrol the remaining 3,000 students in government schools.
When asked about the challenges they faced in enroling out-of-school children, Wazir said that government-run schools in Mohmand still have a lot of problems in terms of providing basic education facilities and amenities such as lack of boundaries walls, drinking water and electricity.
He added that over the past decade over 100 schools have been destroyed in Mohmand owing to militancy. Most of these schools are being reconstructed. He added that school teachers have involved the community to convince parents to send their children to school.
About a question regarding the attendance of teachers and students, he said that they had cancelled a redeployment order for teachers to ensure their presence in the assigned schools. Despite that, Wazir admitted that they were still facing issues with regards to teachers fulfilling their duties since most of the schools were located in far-flung areas where the teacher cannot stay at night and travelling daily is an unfeasible option.
He added that while peace has been restored in Mohmand, threats to teachers and students still persist impacting their attendance.
About facilitating students in government run schools, Wazir said that they were providing students books free of cost books, nor were they charging any admission fee apart from providing food.
Apart from walks, the education official said that they were planning to conduct a door-to-door campaign to convince students to enrol their children in schools.
Walk in Mardan
An awareness walk was held in Mardan on Friday to mark World Literacy Day and to highlight the importance of education.
The walk started from College Chowk and ended at the Mardan Press Club.
Mardan Assistant Commissioner Imran Khan said that education is the backbone of every developed country and nations which invested in education flourished in the world.
(WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM APP)
Published in The Express Tribune, September 9th, 2017.