According to a report submitted before the Supreme Court this week, the condition of public schools across Sindh appears to be in shambles. As a result, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has asked for a complete record on the matter from the chief secretary of Sindh.
Classrooms have been turned into hujras (community centers) at 21 schools in Sukkur, while the rest of Sindh is home to some 10,000 schools that are functioning without shelter or basic facilities, a report on the Sindh education department revealed.
A three-judge bench of the apex court headed by the Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad chaudhry is hearing the case. Sukkur is the constituency of Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Khursheed Ahmad Shah, who is also chief whip of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party.
Taking stern notice of the miserable conditions of public schools across the country, the Supreme Court took suo motu action on Thursday and directed the provincial governments to improve their conditions on a priority basis.
During a hearing on August 8, the chief justice observed that a large number of schools in the country are not functional and students are being forced to study without any shelter. The court then asked the provinces for legislation to fulfill their Constitutional obligation.
The provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Balochistan submitted their reports and assured the Supreme Court that they will implement required legislation in order to provide free education to children aged 5 to 16 years as per article 25A of the Constitution.
The K-P government’s report said that a large number of schools in the province had been destroyed due to disasters and militancy. The report added that a total of 2,905 schools were damaged during the 2005 earthquake, out of which only 1,141 schools have been rehabilitated so far.
On Friday, Punjab submitted their detailed report and Punjab Additional Advocate General Jawad Hassan said that the the Punjab government has spent Rs350 million on Daanish schools so far and the cost of running each school is roughly Rs1.5 million.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 12th, 2012.