PESHAWAR, Sept 20: The functioning of three to four primary schools in a single building with no open space has been affecting the academic atmosphere and causing several problems to thousands of students and their teachers.
Officials said that only in Peshawar the number of such schools stood at around 100, of which 60 were in urban area. Of the 100 schools, they said, some were relocated from other areas for different reasons to the buildings of already functioning schools.
The establishment of new primary schools in the building of already functioning schools is illogical, according to officials in the elementary and secondary education department. With this, the number of students has been increased to an unmanageable level in the already overcrowded schools, teachers of such schools told Dawn.
Such joint schools have no proper classrooms, forcing their administration to arrange classes in the verandas and open places, as schools in urban areas are usually established on a very small piece of land.
One such example is that of the building of Government Primary School for Boys, Yousufabad, located in the city area which is currently shared by three schools. The other two schools are Government Primary School, Zaryab Colony, and Government Maktab Primary School, Yousufabad.
Similarly, three primary schools have been established in the building of Government Girls Primary School, Afghan Colony, while rooms for the fourth school in the same building were under construction, officials said. There are 15 rooms for 2,200 students with over 130 students per classroom, they said.
The three-storey building of the school is congested and it is very difficult for the small children to reach their classrooms on the third floor through stairs.
The officials said that three schools had been functioning in the four-room building of Government Girls Primary School, Jogiwara, in the interior city. It means one room for one school, they said.
During a visit to the Government Primary School, Yousufabad, this correspondent noted that the furniture provided in two classrooms was mostly broken, while students in other rooms were sitting on the muddy ground as the government had not provided them jute mates.
The Yousufabad school building has four rooms and two small verandas where 13 sections of the five classes have been accommodated.
When asked how they manage so many sections in four rooms, a teacher said that other than rooms and verandas, the students were also sitting in the narrow place between the boundary wall and veranda on the ground floor.
The students were scattered on all available ground in the school and there was no space available to even pass through.
Answering a question, the teacher said that there was no space for the morning assembly and a playground.
Pointing to the under-construction middle school on the premises of the primary school, the teacher said that with the establishment of the middle school, the number of students and their problems would increase manifold.
All such schools are short of facilities, particularly furniture and washrooms. It is impossible to manage and maintain furniture for overcrowded schools, said an official of the district education office, Peshawar. He claimed that establishment of two or more primary schools in a single building was not feasible, but it was done as local MPAs wanted to oblige voters and create some posts to appoint own people.
Additional Secretary Elementary and Secondary Education Department Qaiser Alam Khan, when contacted, told Dawn that Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-led provincial government was determined to construct schools on need basis and at proper places.
He said that many schools functioning in the same building had been shifted from other areas. Such schools were first established in rented buildings, but later shifted to the government primary schools when owners of the rented buildings asked to vacate them for different reasons.