Exposed to the elements: Bhakkar students left out in the open

Published: January 12, 2019


BHAKKAR: ‘Parho Punjab, Barho Punjab’ is a mere slogan in Bhakkar’s Darya Khan tehsil where the district administration has failed to give primary schools in the area their own separate buildings.

Four schools, including Nai Abadi Shumaili Government Primary School, Chak Basti Government Primary School, Mohalla Sheikhanwala Government Primary School and Khan Khuda Baksh Government Primary School, have not been given their own buildings despite a passage of more than 30 years.

As a result, two of the schools, Mohalla Sheikhanwala Government Primary School and Khan Khuda Baksh Government Primary School, are being run in rented buildings. The money to pay the rent is being provided by the instructors themselves.

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On the other hand, instead of providing the schools with their own buildings, the district administration has decided to integrate the Nai Abadi Shumaili Government Primary School and the Chak Basti Government Primary School with the existing Mohalla Muhajireen Government Elementary School, all under the roof of one building.

Previously, the Mohsinabad Government Primary School had also been integrated with the Mohalla Muhajireen Government Elementary School. As a result, the children are forced to receive an education while exposed to the elements. There are not enough classrooms in the new building to accommodate the growing number of pupils.

Approximately 645 students study at the school while only 21 female instructors have been hired to teach them. The students of Chak Basti Government Primary School have voiced their displeasure about the integration. Parents maintain they will stop sending their kids to school unless the integration is reversed.

Students at the school say that at the previous location, they at least had a roof over their heads instead of being forced to outdoors. Many of the kids also pointed out that they now have to commute in a rickshaw and this increases their daily expenses.

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A teacher at the school, speaking to The Express Tribune on the condition of anonymity, says that there is no one single problem. “There are a multitude of problems which we cannot explain,” she says. “The building has only eight rooms. Two separate sections have been squeezed into each room while the remaining students have to be seated outside,” she reveals.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Education CEO Mohammad Arshad says that the previous location of the Chak Basti Government Primary School was private property. ”Therefore, we could not use government funds to improve facilities and the children were forced to study in corridors,” he says.

“However, the new location has a lot of space for future construction. We have already put forth a recommendation to build more rooms. Students may face some difficulty for the next two to three months, but the construction of a bigger school is on the cards,” he states.

Speaking about the schools being run in rented buildings, Arshad said that there is was a structure which was supposed to be handed over to the Mohalla Sheikhanawala Government Primary School and the Khan Khuda Baksh Government Primary School during the first week of January. “Unfortunately, the first week of January has already gone by and the schools still remain without buildings,” he laments.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 12th, 2019.

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