Most government schools and colleges in the capital lack computer labs and teachers, despite the fact that computer science has been declared compulsory from grade six onwards.
Meanwhile, the schools and colleges which have computer labs do not have enough systems to meet the needs of their student bodies.
For instance, the Islamabad Model College for Girls I-9/1 has around 760 students but only six computers. There are also only two teachers — one regular and the other contractual.
“It is of no use to ask for labs and computer science teachers when so many teachers are already on the streets demanding regularisation and other rights,” said a teacher from Islamabad Model College for Boys, G-9.
According to official documents, shortages exist in around 218 schools across Islamabad.
Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal had earlier gotten Rs1 billion approved for computer and science labs in high schools across the country, but the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) has yet to come up with a plan to get its share of Rs200 million.
Islamabad Model College for Boys Sector G-8/4 Principal Ghulam Sarwar said that they have only two computer science teachers. “Overcrowded classes cannot just be taught theory. They need practical knowledge of computers,” he said. Similarly, only one teacher was available at the Islamabad Model School for Boys F-8/3 to teach the subject to over 1,000 students.
The situation is even worse in rural areas. In Islamabad Model School for Boys Sangjani, only two computer science teachers were available to cater to the needs of 2,802 students. An FDE official said that when the shortage of general teachers in schools and colleges has not been sorted out, how we can expect computer labs and teachers in education institutions.
“Things cannot be fixed unless we have a permanent FDE head and a permanent secretary at the CADD,” he said, adding that politics and red-tapism have taken a toll on education standards in the capital.
The FDE administration director, spokesperson, model colleges director and CADD additional secretary were approached for comment, but none of them replied despite several attempts.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 22nd, 2014.
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