Around 2,132 teachers and 2,331 additional classrooms are needed in Bajaur Agency’s government schools to combat overcrowding. Talking to The Express Tribune, Bajaur Agency MNA Shahabuddin said, “There are 64,000 out-of-school children in my area.” The government has also halted the construction of new schools, he added.
A report from the Bajaur Agency education officer stated that currently, the government schools in seven tehsils – Barang, Chamarkand, Khar, Mamund, Nawagai, Salarzai and Utmankhel – have only 1,912 teachers and 1,645 viable rooms. According to the report, not only do these schools need 2,331 more rooms, they also need 2,132 teachers.
In Barang tehsil, the total number of boys and girls in government primary, middle, high and community schools is 10,309. But to teach these children, there are only 147 teachers present in the entire tehsil. The report suggested around 131 additional teachers and some 144 rooms are required to fulfil the need in the area.
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The number of male and female students in Chamarkand is 424. They need an additional only 11 teachers and five rooms.
Similarly, in Mamond, the total number of enrolled students is 42,341, the number of existing teaching staff is 338. These students are accommodated in 324 classrooms.
Additionally, 719 teachers and 729 classrooms are required for these students.
In Mamond tehsil, there are 56 primary, five middle, five high schools and one branch school for boys while there are 32 primary, four middle, one IHC, two community and a branch school for girls.
Salarzai has 27,670 students enrolled for whom there are 447 teachers. They are accommodated in 354 classrooms. The requirement of these schools is 289 additional teachers and 379 additional classrooms.
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However, there are 89 primary, five mosque, five middle, six high, and five branch schools for boys while 29 primary , six middle, one IHC, two high, one community and one branch school for girls.
FATA Secretariat Director Education Hamidullah Khan was contacted but he was not available to talk to the media.
When asked to comment on the problem of overcrowding in schools, FATA Secretariat Additional Education Director Aqeel Ahmad said he was not authorised to talk to media, and suggested visiting the education director. Though, when contacted, Bajaur Agency Education Officer Said Gul also refused to talk to the media.
However, FATA Secretariat Directorate of Monitoring and Evaluation Deputy Director Dr Rukhsana Aziz acknowledged the problem schools and teachers in Bajaur Agency were facing.
She said extra rooms were required for these schools to overcome their burden. “I visited the areas several times and also submitted the report of overburdened schools to the authorities but they are yet to take action against these issues,” she said.
She said, “I brought this issue into the attention of Additional Chief Secretary of the FATA Secretariat and he directed the department concerned to look into this issue and solve it.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 30th, 2015.
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