Girl child left behind: Abandoned high school in Palosi deprives girls of secondary education

Published: September 22, 2015
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PHOTO: REUTERS

PHOTO: REUTERS

PESHAWAR: Around 75% girls in Maghdarzai village of Palosi union council in Peshawar are deprived of secondary education as there are no high schools in the area. The village is located three kilometres away from University of Peshawar. However, girls in the area can only see the university from the outside since they do not have the requisite degrees to apply for further education.

According to the district education officer for females in Peshawar, 19 schools for girls, including primary, middle and high schools, are closed due to various reasons. One of these schools is Government Girls High School (GGHS) Maghdarzai, which has been closed since 2010.

Locals complain that although the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government declared an “education emergency,” 19 schools in the city are lying vacant due to the negligence of elected representatives and relevant authorities.

This particular school is built on 24 marlas and has eight rooms, a veranda, a playground, toilets, running water and working electricity. However, due to a lack of teachers, it remains shut. Naseem Khan, the landowner of the space where the school is located, told The Express Tribune he allotted the land so girls in the area could study. “However, it has been five years since the school was built and girls still have not been enrolled,” he said.

He demanded the government make the school operational as soon as possible. “Otherwise, we will not be responsible for any damage that may occur to the premises in the coming years,” he said. The elders from the area met officials from the education department several times, but to no avail, Naseem added. “It’s like they [the officials] don’t even care.”

Fawad Khalil, a social worker from the area, said people from the village want their girls to get an education. However, “since there is no facility available for secondary education in the area, girls are forced to discontinue their education after primary school,” he added.

Khalil said most parents do not think it is safe for their daughter to travel long distances to go to school. “About 25% girls go to high school in the University of Peshawar area, which is around three kilometres from this village,” he added.

The social worker said there are 20,000 registered voters in the area but the population stands at around 30,000. He said this union council has one primary school, one middle school and one high school. “However, due to lack of interest by relevant authorities, only the primary school is functioning. The others are closed,” Khalil added.

He urged K-P Minister for Education Muhammad Atif Khan, MNA for NA-2 Hamidul Haq and MPA Yaseen Khalil to make this school operational so girls from the village can pursue secondary education.

When contacted, NA-2 MNA Hamidul Haq said he has been informed about the school. “I will personally visit the village and resolve this issue soon,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 22nd, 2015.

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