KARACHI: A public school in Karachi is being confronted by a plethora of problems ranging from poor infrastructure to operational failures.
With no walls and ceilings, no watchman, no sweepers or provision of water, gas or electricity, the old building is home to over 150 students but has only two operational rooms.
Meanwhile, a makeshift room is being set up for the principal and school staff.
The school building serves as a meeting point for local residents. The Usmanias Government Boys Primary School lost one of its side walls due to an anti-encroachment drive in Liaquat Ashraf Colony, Mehmoodabad.
Established in 1983, the school currently functions without a boundary wall even two years after the anti-encroachment operation.
The absence of the wall has created a security issue for the school. Anyone can enter the building, while the students face breathing problems due to the dust and noise pollution in the area.
Due to lack of cleaning staff, the students must clean the floors themselves as well as dust their desks and chairs. Due to a lack of furniture, students often have to sit on the floor where a sheet is placed. Meanwhile, in addition to watchmen, the school also lacks gas and water lines for which arrangements are made from the nearby mosque.
The school originally had seven rooms, but four of them have not been in use since the walls collapsed.
Therefore, 87 girls and 63 boys are accommodated in two rooms, while a narrow room is used by the principal and school staff.
The school principal told Express News that a complaint has been registered several times against the dilapidated school condition and wall damage with the town officer, district officer and education department’s website for complaints, ILMI.
However, the authorities always push aside the issue, saying that work on the school will soon be carried out and that the complaint is being reviewed by the authorities. Repeated complaints, however, have not made a difference.
The authorities once sent officers of the works and services department, who chose to take no action after their examination.
According to the principal, the school is the only primary education institution in the area. There was a time when 300 to 400 students were enrolled here, the principal said, adding that the dilapidated condition of the school has cut the student strength to half its original capacity.
“There is no clerk in the school. There was a watchman who left 15 years ago,” the principal said, adding that Rs25,000 was the annual fund received for the school management committee from the education department, but they have not been receiving the sum for the last three years.
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A fifth grade student, Muhammad Subhan, told Express News that the classroom is directly exposed to sunlight and dust because of the damaged wall.
Because of a lack of walls on the upper floor, a wall has been constructed with desks and chairs, due to which we are forced to study on the floors, said Subhan.
A student of the fourth grade, Ayesha Ishtiaque, said that continuous noise of traffic makes studying an arduous task.
The school appealed to the education minister to improve the school’s condition and at least rebuild the wall demolished by the anti-encroachment cell.