LANDI KOTAL: With the closure of almost all the government and private educational institutions in the wake of the military operation in Bara, a private schools association has started free classes for displaced students in a school in Peshawar.  

Mohammad Jamil Afridi, principal of Afridi Model School and College, told Dawn that since the start of classes last month, 307 students from different parts of Bara had been enrolled at the school in 8, 9 and 10th grades.

The Private Schools Association, Bara, of which Mr Afridi is the president, has started free classes for the displaced students.  

The school principal said that owing to greater demand for admission in 10th grade, they had to arrange for an extra room for the new students.

“At the moment all facilities have been provided to students free of charge, but due to growing number of aspiring students, the school administration sought financial assistance of the Khyber political administration and directorate of education, Fata, to meet the expenditures.

However, he regretted that despite assurances from the political administration, the office of the agency education officer refused to provide them any assistance.

“Agency education officer Ateequr Rehman promised to provide free textbooks, stationery and mates, but when I met him at his office in Jamrud, he refused to honour his commitment,” said the school principal. 

Mr Afridi said that one of the biggest problems most of the displaced students were faced with was their boarding as most of them lived in scattered localities and came to attend their classes from far off places.

He said that his association also demanded of both the political administration and education department to provide them with tents for a makeshift hostel within the school premises, but to no avail. 

Asghar Afridi said that still thousands of displaced Bara students were unable to continue their education as they had shifted to other cities. 

He said that his association was making efforts to establish more such schools in Peshawar and other parts of the province. 

A government school teacher from Akkakhel area, Gulab Din, who was also present on the occasion, offered his services in the school.

He said that with most government schools closed in Bara since 2009, the education department should make it mandatory on teachers to attend to their duties in makeshift schools for displaced students.

Published in Dawn, December 1st , 2014