ISLAMABAD: A majority of primary schools are lacking basic facilities for students, which explains the increasing pattern of private schooling across the country.
According to a Free and Fair Election Network (Fafen) report released on Thursday, 95 boys’ primary schools out of 161 monitored across 85 districts in January were found to be without playgrounds.
In addition, 74 schools were without chairs for students, while 35 did not have any furniture for teachers and 118 schools had no staffrooms.
As many as 38 schools had no arrangements for potable water and only eight had sanitary workers. Other support staff - peons and security guards - was present only in 48 schools.
However, classrooms in 133 schools were found to be clean despite the unavailability of sanitary workers. Also, 129 schools had electricity connections but only 16 had well-lit classrooms. Fans were available in classrooms of 128 schools.
A region-wise analysis showed all positions of non-teaching staff in schools monitored in Punjab, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Fata were filled. However, two of 12 such positions in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) and nine out of 63 in Sindh were found to be vacant.
The highest percentage (10%) of vacant teaching positions was observed in schools monitored in Punjab, followed by Sindh (7%), Balochistan (6%), K-P (3%) and ICT (3%).
The report points out that the attendance of appointed staff in schools was satisfactory, with teachers’ attendance in 89% of the schools being above 76%. Similarly, students’ attendance in 86% of schools was also found to be over 76%.
The number of students per teacher in a monitored school of Khyber Agency was 62, followed by schools in K-P and Balochistan with 45 and 42 respectively. Punjab, Sindh and ICT showed a better trend in student-teacher ratios, with 34 students per teacher in Punjab, 31 in Sindh and 13 in ICT.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 24th, 2012.
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