RAHIM YAR KHAN: The condition of Government Masjid Maktab School in Abdul Wahid Basti speaks volumes about the Punjab government’s lack of concern for education in rural areas. Even though the foundation of the school was laid three decades ago, yet the school is still deprived of basic facilities till today. The education department by merely providing one teacher for teaching and a few benches as furniture has dispensed its responsibilities. Despite this distressing situation, the elected representatives are busy in playing the province card.
A visit to the site by Express News revealed the school has been in dire need of construction and expansion for years. Around 27 students are studying here without the most basic facilities such as furniture and a proper building. They are compelled to take classes under the open sky sitting on the floor in both hot and cold weather. The irony is that there is no furniture for the students and they are forced to sit on broken benches.
Most students, both girls and boys, are from underprivileged families and lack the finances to study at a better school.
The school was constructed in Rahim Yar Khan’s Mian Wali Qureshian Union Council in 1989 and is surrounded by crops from all four sides. Many parents removed their children from the school due to it being insecure. Two kanals were also transferred to the education department for the school’s building by the local people but not even one brick could be put to use.
The only support for the students is a tree and under its shed, the classes are conducted daily.
An interesting point is that the school is situated in the constituency’s of an MNA who is raising slogans for the creation of South Punjab province.
While speaking to Express News, a resident of the area Nadeem Akhtar said that a decade ago, more than 200 students used to study in the school while five years ago the number of students enrolled in the school declined to 100.
He added, “Due to insecurity and lack of facilities, the parents are either transferring their children to another school or sending them to work.” He maintained, “Abdul Wahid Basti is a low-income area and the parents are not so well off so as to send their children to far-off areas or to a private institution.”
Similarly, another resident Mubarak Ali told Express News that the condition of the school is a question mark over the performance of district government, education department and the Punjab government which is raising the slogan of providing every child with free and compulsory education by 2030.
When contacted, Local Counselor Jam Husnain told Express News that the nearest school from the area is three to four kilometres away and it is not possible for the parents to send their children to such a faraway place.
He alleged that the education department and local representatives are constantly and deliberately ignoring this area. “Majority of the schools in the district consists of classrooms and washrooms but only this school has not been provided funds for development,” he lamented.
Meanwhile, the local community has warned that if funds for the school are not provided immediately, then they will lodge a protest and will not cast their votes in the general elections.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 14th, 2018.