With around 300,000 children of school-going age not enrolled and a high dropout rate, the state of education in government schools in Thatta and Sujawal districts is beyond dismal. Between 70 to 85 per cent of the around 3,202 schools in the two districts remain devoid of basic facilities like clean drinking water, electricity, toilets and boundary walls.
The study, based on official statistics concerning the facilities in schools, has been carried out by the Institute of Social and Policy Science (I-SAPS) and Alif Ailaan. It has categorised the school’s assessment by forming a ranking order for the five constituencies of the Sindh Assembly in Thatta and Sujawal.
I-SAPS evaluated the schools on three parameters – class five results and teacher to student and student to classroom ratios. The quality of teaching, syllabus, students’ attentiveness and extracurricular activities, among others, have not been factored in.
Similarly, facilities refer to the availability of water, electricity, toilets and boundary walls.
According to the study, 80 per cent or 2,658 of the schools lack drinking water facilities and 85 per cent, 2,787, have no electricity. Another 70 per cent, 2,215, do not have toilets and there are no boundary walls in 60 per cent or 1,980 of the schools.
As many as 153,676 students are enrolled in the schools whereas the number of the teachers is 5,613.
The Sujawal and Mirpur Bathoro based PS-86 constituency, which is represented by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) Shah Hussain Shah Sherazi, has been ranked top in terms of quality of education. In terms of school amenities, Mirpur Sakro-based PS-85 of the PML-N’s Amir Haider Shah Sheerazi bagged the top slot. Both of them have been given a score of 57.12 and 32.15, respectively, which the study points out is very low by their standard.
“All of the schools have performed poorly in the SAT-II [Standardised Achievement Test] class five tests,” observed Abdullah Alam, the research fellow of I-SAPS who undertook the study.
Among the five constituencies, PS-88, which elected the Pakistan Peoples Party’s leader Syed Awais Muzaffar, has the lowest number of schools and a corresponding figure of teachers and students. The constituency also happens to lag behind as far as facilities are concerned.
The 413 government schools in PS-88 have just 415 teachers and 12,522 students. Some 372 or 90 per cent lack drinking water facilities, 348 or 84 per cent lack toilets, 323 or 78 per cent electricity and 261 or 63 per cent boundary walls.
There are 40,490 enrolled students and 1,499 teachers in 634 schools in PS-84, 23,592 students and 985 teachers in 508 schools in PS-85, 48,942 students and 1,700 teachers in 968 schools in PS-86, and 28,130 students and 1014 teachers in 679 schools in PS-87.
Around 88 per cent of the schools in PS-86, 68 per cent in PS-85, 84 per cent in PS-84 and 80 per cent in PS-87, do not provide clean drinking water to the students. Ninety per cent of schools in PS-84, 89 per cent PS-86, 87 per cent PS-87 and 86 per cent PS-85 lack electric supply. There are no toilets in 75 per cent of the schools of PS-87, 69 per cent of PS-86, 67 per cent of PS-85 and 55.5 per cent of PS-84.
The teacher to student proportion is the schools is one teacher for 24 students in PS-85, 27 in PS-84, 28 in PS-87, 29 in PS-86 and 30 in PS-88.
“The state of basic facilities in the schools in Thatta and Sajawal needs immediate attention. They have a serious impact on learning, which can be seen from the poor learning outcome of the students,” observed Alam.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 28th, 2015.