PESHAWAR: The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government may have managed to attract more girl students at the primary level, but as many as 900 women teachers are still required to teach them at the schools.
According to the Elementary and Secondary Education department, there are over 600 girls schools in Peshawar district. Of the total, over 450 primary, 74 middle, 56 high and 13 higher secondary schools are in running condition. At the same time, schools in some rural parts of the district are closed for different reasons such as land disputes.
District Education Officer Samina Ghani says the number of students has increased considerably. She adds there are 2,400 teachers in primary schools which are not enough to meet the ever-increasing student body.
She shares that international standards of education prescribe one teacher for every 40 students at a school. “By these standards, around 900 teachers are required for primary schools in the district.”
She says Rs350 million was allocated as an additional grant in the 2014-15 budget to provide missing facilities and improve the condition of schools. Ghani points out that a large part of this amount was spent through the Parent Teacher Councils (PTC) and people will see the results in the coming six months.
She adds various schools have constructed new boundary walls and additional rooms. Also, students have access to running water and lavatory conveniences at numerous educational facilities.
The DEO says Rs7 million has been set aside for sport activities at girls’ schools and all kinds of kits have been purchased, while tournaments are also being organised with this money.
She says that in some rural parts of Peshawar district, there are well furnished schools with every facility. However, the enrolment of girls remains low due to cultural barriers and lack of parents’ interest.
Ghani adds non-profit organisations have launched awareness campaigns in areas of the district to motivate parents to send their girls to school. She says the dropout ratio in some rural areas such as Mattani, Sherikera, Sheikhan, Larama, Ring Road and other parts is very high. The education official says early marriage is to blame for this phenomenon.
Ghani says parents do not understand the complications of early marriage, adding many girls between the age of 15 and 18 end up tying the knot. She requests all parents to enrol their girls in schools and stop early marriages.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 26th, 2015.