Parents put up fight with Bahria Foundation school


Samia Saleem April 17, 2010

KARACHI: Common restrooms for boys and girls, classes partitioned only by cupboards and primary school students taking long walks, crossing roads with heavy traffic to reach their canteen, library and computer lab.

No one would want their children to go to a school like that.

That is exactly why 12 concerned parents gathered at the Bahria Foundation School Nazimabad campus to protest against the appalling condition of the school. The alarming thing is that the school is run by the Bahria Foundation, a military welfare organisation.

The school is stuffed into the first floor of a 500-yard threestorey bungalow. The second floor of the school is inhabited by a tenant, while big multicoloured beauty parlour banners hoard the ground floor. Along with the banners being an eyesore, it adds to the shock of the school authorities running a school right above a beauty parlour.

The students’ parents met the school’s principal Sikandar Hayat Khan on Friday to protest against the awful administration and the makeshift infrastructure. The school’s primary and secondary section, which was in the college building earlier, was moved to the current location on April 1. But how could they move the school, especially the section of young children, to a place with such horrendous arrangements, asked the parents.

“We pay a monthly fees ranging from Rs2,500 to Rs3,200 per month and so we obviously expect some kind of standard to be followed, especially from a military welfare institution,” said a parent.

“Our children have to cross the road, with such heavy traffic, all the way from the new venue to the old one, just to get to the computer lab,” complained one mother.

“The most disturbing thing is that we all expect this military institution to look out for our children’s security and, of course, defence as it’s being run by a defence institution. We certainly do not expect them to leave our children on the roads,” she said.

Most of the parents were horrified at the girls and boys sharing bathrooms, for obvious reasons.

The new ‘campus’, if you must term it that, has a tiny kiosk for a canteen and no proper playground.

“We had no issues with the old building and the teachers were good too. Now they have increased the strength of classrooms from 25 students to 40.” The vans are also jam packed, she added.

Meanwhile, other parents told The Express Tribune that the school’s curriculum was always changing. “The books that they prescribe are only available at one bookshop that charges exorbitant prices,” said another parent, criticising the school. These schools print their own workbooks and make it mandatory for students to buy them from their prescribed bookstores, while both the school and the bookstore benefit from the sale and the high prices, he added.

The parents gave the school a May 15 deadline to shift the school to a better building or they would launch a bigger protest. The Bahria Foundation School administration assured the parents that the floor in the residential house was a temporary arrangement as they had received an evacuation notice from the court. “We are already looking for a new place and the students will be moved to a better building but it will take about three to four months,” said the principal to the infuriated parents.

But the parents still questioned the administration’s affirmation. “They have already painted the bungalow and advertised, which shows their intention to stay here as long as they can. I highly doubt they’ll move soon,” said a parent with a sigh.

COMMENTS (2)

Azam Sultan Ahmed | 11 years ago | Reply The time has come for us to put our Educational Institutions in order. They have become way to commercialized and a military institution doing this is more worrying. It is the job of the parents to build a pressure group and force to school administration to either wind up the commercial activity or move to a purpose built campus, but without this it will be business as usual. May Allah guide and protect us from these contractors of education.
Nadir El Edroos | 11 years ago | Reply Great work publishing this! The self censorship that the media in Pakistan observe regarding private and military related education institutions is appalling! Great work highlighting this example! I am sure the first of many ?
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