Although the academic standard in government schools remains dismal in Hyderabad, the schools in the rural parts of the district seem to be faring better than their urban counterparts. These findings were reported in a study carried out by the Institute of Social and Policy Science (I-SAPS) in collaboration with Alif Ailaan.
The organisations based this study on the six constituencies of the Sindh Assembly in Hyderabad, ranking each of them against their standards of quality and their facilities.
The ranking places the PS-50 constituency of provincial minister Sharjeel Memon at the top in terms of quality, which has been assessed on the basis of four indicators – the annual results of classes five and eight, student-to-teacher ratio and student-to-classroom ratio. PS-50 has been given a score of 52.6, which, despite being low in comparison to other districts in the country, is the highest among the six constituencies.
PS-47 in Qasimabad and PS-49 in Latifabad were placed second and third, respectively. The former constituency is represented by the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) provincial minister Jam Khan Shoro and the latter by Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) MPA Sabir Hussain Qaimkhani.
“We believe that [the] education reforms have not been successful in the province because we have never considered the political aspect of it,” contends Abdullah Alam, the I-SAPS research fellow who conducted the study. He believes that, like the bureaucrats and the education officials, the electorate of a constituency can hold their representatives accountable for the education standard as well.
Likewise, as far as the facilities of electricity, clean drinking water, toilets and boundary walls are concerned, PS-48 of MQM’s Zubair Ahmed Khan has been placed at the top, securing a score of 90.96. The PS-45 constituency of MQM’s Dilawar Qureshi and PS-47 of PPP’s Shoro got the second and third positions, respectively.
The study observes that around 40 per cent of schools in PS-50 and PS-49 lack clean drinking water, while the same percentage of schools in PS-49 are without electricity. The latter constituency falls in Latifabad, which is an urban area, and the former in the rural area. Alam said they widely disseminate the findings among the stakeholders. “The rankings create a sort of competition among the politicians and the community,” he believed.
According to the data collected by I-SAPS, there are 778 government schools in Hyderabad district, with 46 per cent in the PS-50 constituency in Hyderabad rural taluka alone. Qasimabad taluka, represented by the PS-47 constituency, has the second highest number of government schools (108), followed by 158 in Latifabad taluka and 152 in City taluka.
Similarly, in terms of the student enrolment, PS-50 excels compared to other constituencies, having 38,154 school-goers enrolled. Both the constituencies in Latifabad taluka together fall short of the rural statistics, with its 37,242 enrolment. However, despite having the highest number of schools, the proportion of teachers to students is the lowest in the rural taluka. There is only one teacher for over 29 students in PS-50, compared to 16 in PS-45, 14 in PS-46, 15 in PS-47, 13.5 in PS-48 and 19 in PS-49.
The highest number of schools without drinking water facilities, boundary walls, toilets and electric supply also happen to be in the rural taluka. Around 25 per cent of them are without electricity and toilets and more than 40 per cent have no water. Slightly over 13 per cent of the schools do not have boundary walls.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 22nd, 2015.