RAWALPINDI: At a time when private institutions have classes swelled to their capacity, five government-run higher secondary schools in Rawalpindi district have no less than 20 students in their intermediate sections.

“It’s sheer negligence on the part of the education department and schools’ heads who are showing no interest in increasing enrolment in their first and second year (college) classes,” said a senior officer of the education department.

The officer said these institutions had proper buildings and staff, who enjoyed all perks and privileges, but they never bothered to improve the standard of education and increase enrolment.

“Yes, almost five higher secondary schools have a strength of less than 20 students each in first and second year classes which is a serious issue. We are paying special attention to improving enrolment in these institutions,” Executive District Officer (EDO) Education Qazi Zahoorul Haq told Dawn on Saturday.

He said he had also issued notices to the heads of these institutions. “I directed them [principals] to increase enrolment in the upcoming admission session which will start in April. If they fail to do so, we will downgrade these institutions to high school level,” he added.

The institutions having less than 20 students in their intermediate sections are Government Higher Secondary School Phapril (Murree), Government Higher Secondary School Davi (Gujar Khan), Government Higher Secondary School (Lehtrar), Government Higher Secondary School Kontrilla and Government Higher Secondary School Malot Sattian. Government Higher Secondary School Dhanda meanwhile has 37 students in both.

The EDO said under the rules, higher secondary schools should have over 200 students in first and second year classes.

“A large number of students of these areas are getting education at private schools because the government institutions have failed to provide quality education. If they improve the standard of education, their enrolment would increase,” said a senior official of the EDO office, who wished not to be named.

To a query, he said there was no doubt that government-run schools enjoyed better facilities and infrastructure than private institutions.

Sources said besides the above-mentioned institutions, there were over 50 primary schools in the district that had less than 100 students enrolled with them. Although, there is no particular rule with regards to primary schools, but to have less than 100 students is deplorable. There was a need to attract more students who opt for private institutions, the senior official added.

Speaking to Dawn, Raja Shahid Mubarik, an office-bearer of Rawalpindi’s teacher union, said: “It is the responsibility of teachers to play their role in increasing enrolment in their respective institutions. The education department would be left with no choice but to close down the intermediate sections of these institutions.”

Published in Dawn February 15th , 2015

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