The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Elementary and Secondary Education department has planned a strategy to rebuild schools that were fully and partially damaged by Monday’s earthquake. However, while data is collected and subsequent steps are planned, students will be relegated to studying in tents or, if possible, another building.
A meeting of the K-P Elementary and Secondary department was chaired by additional secretary Qaiser Alam Khan on Wednesday. Several local and international non-governmental organisations’ representatives were also present.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Alam said initial surveys revealed 1,294 boys and girls schools were completely or partially damaged. He added 137 schools, of which 111 were for boys, were destroyed.
Alam said district education officers (DEO), with the help of national and international NGOs, would compile data and form a strategy.
The secretary said it was decided to initially run these schools in tents or shift students of completely destroyed institutes to nearby buildings. He said tents had been sent for the worst-affected areas. About the size, he said the tents were large enough to accommodate 100 students in four rooms.
Money and resource allocation
He said all data would be sent to the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) which would share it with the Communication and Works department to allocate an amount for reconstruction.
The secretary shared the education minister stressed the academic year could not be wasted. The minister also directed DEOs to hire buildings on rent and adjust schools in mosques or other government buildings. On this occasion, NGOs assured full support to the K-P government. UNICEF representatives shared the organisation would provide tents for schools.
Schools reopen in Swat
Students trickled back to schools throughout Swat Valley as their institutes reopened a day after directives from the district administration. All educational institutes were closed on Tuesday after the earthquake. However, a notification issued from Swat DC Saleem Marwat said educational institutes would reopen on Wednesday. However, attendance was low.
Nazia Gul, a student at Government Girls’ Higher Secondary School at Odigram, told The Express Tribune she was the only one present in her class. “I have to submit an assignment and that is why I came today,” she said.
Khan Talab, a school teacher in Balogram, said only 10 out of 300 students came for the class. Consequently, the students present were given the day off.
Nazir Khan, whose son studies at Parwrish Public Model School, explained the earthquake had traumatised students. He added children were not ready to start school and parents were reluctant to send them.
Attendance at Jehanzeb Postgraduate College Swat also remained low. Jan Muhammad, a lecturer, said faculty and students were both absent from class.
Mian Qasim, a teacher at a remote school in Sham Baba, explained there were 68 students who were never absent. However, the earthquake traumatised them to the extent that all remained at home.
Meanwhile, University of Swat main campus, Odigram, was declared dangerous for academic activity and remained closed. Students were informed the varsity would remain closed till October 29.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 29th, 2015.