Wrapping up: School’s out for hundreds in Melay Wali Galli

Protest against closure of primary school and impending sale.


Kashif Zafar June 04, 2011

BAHAWALPUR:


Over one hundred people protested against the closure of a government school in the district without any notice on Friday.


According to eyewitnesses, residents of Melay Wali Galli near Hussani Chowk, protested against the local administration for closing the Melay Wali Galli Government Primary School without any notice.

“We had been told for months that the school was actually closed for repairs and that we could send our children by next semester. Now they are trying to sell the land illegally,” said Khadim Hussain, a protester.

According to locals, the school was built in 1933 but it had not been operational for over 17 years. “There is no administration or furniture. There is just a board proclaiming it a school and a guard,” said a local resident, Ammara.

“I protested against the administration to finance the school so we could start sending our children here and they kept telling us that repairs were in the works,” she added.

On Tuesday, the district administration emptied all the school furniture without prior notice and building was handed over to the Deputy District Education Office. The District Education Office closed the school and is planning a sale of the land.

“I passed my primary from this school in 1956. My children went here and I wanted my grandchildren to study here but they have closed it down without any notice to the community,” said Irshad Khan. “They haven’t given us any alternatives and there is no other school within walking distance from here,” he added

Khan told reporters that there were over 100,000 people in the locality and the children of Melay Wali Galli would now have to leave the area to go to school. “Many of these children will not receive an education if this school is closed down,” he said.

Khadim Hussain, another protester, said that he was extremely worried that the district administration had not provided any alternatives. “They have shut down the only primary school we have and this essentially means they have put a stop to the schooling of hundreds of children,” he said.

Khan Sher Balouch, who was an elementary teacher at the school said that   only the school building was taken over the department. “I don’t think they will shut down the school. The building has been handed over the to the local education department because it is too small to serve the needs of the community,” he said. “A new building will be given by the School only 2km away from the present campus,” he added.

Protesters said that they had previously been told of the new building but they were duped. “We have been hearing of this new building for seven years and it is a hoax. They are taking the only building we have,” Ammara said.

They appeal to Chief Minister of Punjab to again the old School building was given to the School. E O M)

Published in The Express Tribune, June 4th, 2011.

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