As important as seeking education is, being taught at schools which lack basic facilities is a severely demotivating factor for many.
According to a report by the Pak-Alliance for Math and Science, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) has roughly 3.8 million out of school children. A significant number of these children do not attend school due to dilapidated buildings, lack of drinking water, missing boundary walls and non-existent toilets.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), even with its focus on improving education and having spent eight years ruling the province, is yet to provide basic facilities to thousands of schools in the province.
A report by the K-P Planning and Development Department indicates that 16,000 schools were in desperate need of the government’s attention.
The department’s report, a copy of which is available with The Express Tribune, states that around 3,300 schools in the province are missing boundary walls and teachers have to resort to teaching out in the open.
It also states that 4,272 schools cannot provide clean drinking water, while some 5,456 do not have an electricity supply.
It seems that the province’s struggle with providing public toilets has followed it to its schools as well, as the report further states that around 2,836 schools lack toilets out of which 826 are girls’ schools - a troubling number given K-P’s open defecation problem.
Khair Ullah Khwari, president Primary and Elementary Teachers Association K-P, while talking to The Express Tribune, said that while the provincial government had recently provided funding for furniture at schools, promises regarding provision of facilities remained unfulfilled.
“The situation is even worse in the merged districts, where around 80% of schools are devoid of essentials such as boundary walls and toilets,” Khwari said.
He further added that the government’s overall performance was poor and negligent as it had not started any work on schools which were targeted by militants and terrorists in some districts of the province and children in those areas were suffering.
Director Elementary and Secondary Education Hafiz Muhammad Ibrahim, acknowledging that schools lacked basic facilities, said that it was the government and education department’s first priority.
He informed this reporter that the current administration had allocated 6 billion rupees to provide furniture to schools in 28 districts and this would help 2.4 million students in the province. “For the remaining facilities we will try our best to provide them to affected schools by December of 2022,” Ibrahim told The Express Tribune.
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