Education on the backburner in Urdu Bazaar area

School building which was to be reconstructed in three months awaits work a year on

Ammar Sheikh December 28, 2017

LAHORE: Residents of a neighborhood in Lahore have been awaiting reconstruction of a school for almost a year, whereas the plot where the institute once stood is now used as a parking lot for vehicles and donkey carts.

The school, Government Junior Model School No 1 in Urdu Bazaar, was demolished to be reconstructed in early 2017, said locals. However, after the demolition, construction work hasn’t started as yet despite the lapse of almost one year. The children, who were studying at the school, were relocated to the already-crowded Kamal Junior School.

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According to locals, the school building was destroyed in February of 2017 and was to be built in three months. As a result of the demolition, locals said, their children and teachers were transferred to a school a few streets away. However, because of the overcrowded school, some parents decided to get their children enrolled in low-cost private schools.

Muhammad Arshad, a resident, told The Express Tribune that five children of his family were studying at the institute. “Now our children have to go to the other school, which has a lot of other pupils.

We have no option but to send our children to Kamal Junior School because we cannot afford private schools.”

The school lies in the constituency of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif – NA-120 – which was later won by his wife Kulsoom Nawaz in the by-election. Arshad said that they are still awaiting reconstruction, but to no avail.

“During the by-election for the constituency, many government functionaries visited the area and made promises of completing development work, including the rebuilding the school,” he said. He also complained his children had to wade through the sewage filled streets which led to the Kamal Junior School.

When contacted, Lahore District Education Authority (DEA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Bashir Goraya said that he would be in a position to comment on the status of a particular school after talking to relevant officials. However, he did not respond to queries afterwards. The Government Junior Model School No 1 is not the only school that requires attention. Many schools in the provincial capital await reconstruction or other work.

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According to the District Education Ranking 2017 by Alif Ailaan, Lahore was ranked in 32nd position of the 153 districts in Pakistan. In Punjab, the capital ranked in 19th spot among the 36 districts in the province.

Punjab School Education Department (SED) Secretary Dr Allah Baksh Malik said that Lahore’s ranking was affected because of the lower schools in infrastructure.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 28th, 2017.


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