As the prices of food and utilities inflate constantly, policemen find themselves in an odd spot when it comes to choices for quality schooling their children.
Undoubtedly, every parent wants their children to receive the best education, but policemen complain that with their limited salaries and no reserve seats and school facilities, they find their hands tied.
As Dawn spoke to numerous low ranking policemen, they pointed out that the same was not the case for the families of personnel in other law-enforcement agencies who do have special schools designated for them.
They also complained that it was highly discriminatory that higher ranking police officers could meet the expenses of private schools while low ranking police officials had no choice but to send their kids to government schools.
A low ranking police official told Dawn: “Our salaries are not increasing but the costs of education including tuition fees and prices of books for kids are jumping day-by-day.”
He added: “There is a dire need of a primary school for children of policemen posted in Rawalpindi, since most of us live in the limits of the Cantonment but send our children to Federal Government schools who ask for a certificate of police department, and most of the time the policemen’s children are not entertained.”
Back in 2000, the then chief of police Punjab Malik Asif Hayat had looked into the concerns of policemen about schooling for he children, and had approached the owner of a private school system, the Educators.
An agreement was signed between the two parties in which it was suggested that one school would be established in each division in the Punjab.
The police department was to provide/arrange the building and furniture, while the latter would be responsible for school administration and management, including the hiring of the teaching staff and setting up the course curricula and syllabi.
For this purpose, Rs2.5 million were allocated for each school, but 12 years on the proposal has only been able to materialise in Faisalabad, Sarghodha and Dera Ghazi Khan.
And even though Rawalpindi district was among those who were allocated Rs2.5 million in the year 2000 to establish a primary school for policemen’s children, no progress has been made except for a few thousand rupees spent on paper work by an ex-deputy superintendent of police headquarters Ashfaq Anwar, who was highly interested in setting up such a school.
Back then the police department had proposed that a plot measuring 14 kanals in Kotha Kalan (Morgah area) be used to construct the school building, but since Mr Anwar’s transfer in 2008 the project seems to have been shelved.
Recently, City Police Officer Rawalpindi Azhar Hameed Khokhar tried to revive the project, but was shocked to know that now it would cost Rs20 million.
After much negotiation with the management of the Educators in June this year, it has appeared that the police department would bear 50 per cent of the total cost of the project.
When Dawn spoke to Superintendent of Police Waheedur Rehman Khattak on the issue, he replied: “It would be of great benefit to the Rawalpindi police that the school was built on police land that is lying unused.”
Nevertheless, he added: “If this school was to come about, it would be a landmark for the Rawalpindi police force and their children.”