PESHAWAR: Contrary to the tall claims of former lawmakers of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) that record achievement was made in the education sector in the provincial capital, that impression has been dispelled by the fact that it has been discovered that 31% of schools in the district have no electricity connection while 10% lack clean drinking water for both students and teaching staff.
Former Peshawar based PTI lawmakers including Mehmood Jan, Arbab Jehandad, Sysed Ishiaq Urmer, Shaukat Yousafzai, Shah Farman and Fazal Elahi have claimed in their assets and liabilities papers submitted to Election Commission of Pakistan for upcoming general election that they have constructed and upgraded schools in their respective constituencies.
However, on the other hand according to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Independent Monitoring Unit (IMU) data available with The Express Tribune almost 31% of the total schools in district Peshawar lack power and 10% have no clean drinking water facility, 6% are without toilets and 4% have no boundary walls. The report showed that there are a total of 1,372 schools in the whole district out of which 770 schools (56%) are for boys and only 602 schools (44%) are for girls.
Similarly, at the primary level, the number of schools is 1,018 out of which 572 (56%) schools are for boys and 446 (44%) schools are for girls and out of the 156 middle schools, 81 are for boys and 75 are for girls. At high school level there are 144 school including 79 schools boys and 65 schools are for girls and 41 schools are operational at the higher secondary level; 25 are boys’ schools and 16 are girls’ schools. Along with government schools there are 13 Madrasah or Masjid Schools in the Peshawar district.
The IMU report further showed that nearly 392,807 students are enrolled in the 1,372 schools of Peshawar out of which almost 56% are boys and only 44% are females. While the number of teachers at the district level is 11,231 out of which 57% are working at primary schools, whereas 9% are working at the middle, 20% in high school level and 13% at the higher secondary level. Similarly, the student teacher ratio at the primary level stands at about 44 students per teacher. While this ratio is particularly discouraging in the female schools; on average one teacher is teaching about 46 female students as compared to a teacher teaching 42 students in boys’ schools.
According to ECP around 68 candidates will contest election at five national assembly seats while 316 candidates in the race for 14 provincial assembly seats affiliated with different political parties and independent candidates.
PTI, Pakistan People Party, Pakistan Muslim League-N, Awami National Party, Qaumi Watan Party and Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal have kept education on its top priority list while different non-governmental organisations also have started their campaign and motivated people to demand questions from their politicians about providing education to their children when they ask them vote.
However, Peshawar residents showed their disappointment and said that politicians promise at the time of election while once they are elected they do not even ask about the areas people basic requirements. “No one in any party is serious to change the old system of education in government schools,” Shah Rehman a resident of Gulbahar said.
He criticised all previous governments for just hollow promises with the name change, while they do nothing done practically for the betterment of the people.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 13th, 2018.