PESHAWAR: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has decided to triple the budget for construction of each new government primary school in the province from the next financial year, according to officials in the education department.
They said that under the previous government Rs4 million was allocated for the construction of each new government primary school while the current provincial government had decided to increase the amount to Rs12 million. They said that the decision would be implemented from fiscal 2014-15.
The officials said that with the three-time increase in the budget, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government would construct new primary schools having six rooms. They said that it was a major policy change as earlier two-room primary schools were constructed by the successive governments and those schools had been provided only two teachers for six classes.
Under the old policy, the construction of two rooms and appointment of two teachers for six classes from grade-1 to 6 was illogical, the officials said, adding that it was not possible to accommodate six classes in two rooms and students would face multiple problems, affecting the academic environment.
The officials said that in the two-room schools the students of different classes had been sharing a single room while a single teacher was bound to teach to two or three classes.
“After the coming budget every new primary school will have six rooms and as many teachers,” additional secretary Elementary and Secondary Education Qaiser Alam Khan said, when contacted. He said that the education department had also planned to construct required rooms in the primary schools in different phases.
He said that with the provision of shelter to the students in government schools the enrolment would definitely increase. The additional secretary hoped that the dropout rate would decrease and retention rate of students would increase with provision of a separate room for each class.
He said that the chief minister had already approved the PC-1 for the construction of 100 primary schools for boys and girls with six rooms and six teachers.
A planner in the education department told Dawn that the whole process from approval to completion of construction work on each primary school with six rooms and making it functional would also be accelerated and it would now take two years. He said that the same process for making the two-room schools functional would take three years till now.
The remaining required rooms were constructed gradually in the old two-room primary schools. However, sources said that the follow-up work was usually slow and done in most of the cases even decades later. They said that due to the slow work and meagre financial resources, half of the primary schools still had two rooms.
Of total 23,073 primary schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa only 1,175 including 413 for girls, have six rooms, according to official data of the education department, while 10,318 schools, including 4,440 for girls, are functioning in two-room setup.
Similarly, there are 255 single-room primary schools, including 155 for boys and 100 for girls. The data reveal that 3,030 primary schools have three rooms.
According to the data, there are 2,446 four-room primary schools in the province, including 1,526 for boys and 920 for girls, while 1,259 primary schools, including 474 for girls, have five rooms.