What ‘distance’ education!

Updated 06 Apr 2015

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FAISALABAD: Poor link roads add to the sufferings of village students who cover several kilometres daily to reach their schools.–Dawn
FAISALABAD: Poor link roads add to the sufferings of village students who cover several kilometres daily to reach their schools.–Dawn

FAISALABAD: Unavailability of an educational facility at Jhang’s Bodiwala village denies learning opportunities to many children while others defy odds to reach primary schools at quite a distance from their homes.

An upward of 300 children of Bodiwala, a locality having scattered dwellings, have to go to different schools at Kot Mirza, Qaima Bharwana and Saeedabad.

Six-year-old Akif Hussain and his brother Wasif Hussain, both students of Class-I, have to walk 12 kilometres daily to reach their school at Qaim Bharwana and back home. Akif says his father has no means to send him to a private school and “we have to travel a good 12 kilometres daily to school and back.” It takes more than an hour for them to reach the school.

“We have to take rest after reaching the school and repeat the practice while getting back home. It is quite hazardous as we have to be watchful due to heavy traffic on the road leading to our school,” he says.

Qasim Ali told this correspondent that Bodiwala had about eight acres of state land meant for a high school but no effort had been made to materialise the plan. He said the residents of the village had been trying to impress upon the authorities the need to have a school but all their entreaties have fallen on deaf ears.

He said a great deal of effort was made to enroll students at the state-run schools in urban areas but people of remote areas continued to be neglected.

Hassan, another student of Class-I at a school, told Dawn that his father dropped him to school and he had to wait for him for more than five hours after closing. “I daily go to the home of my relatives residing near the school and wait for my father,” he said.

The area also has no seminary for teaching of children and a mosque had recently been built with the help of a non-government organisation. Altaf Hussain, the prayer leader, said people had approached parliamentarians and government officials with a request to establish a school so that their children could continue their studies without any problem but nobody heeded their demand.

“We are ready to give land and resources for the children keeping in view their suffering but there is no cooperation from the government at any level,” he said. The ordeal of children, especially girls, during summer and sultry weather conditions was hard to narrate, he said.

Taking advantage of the situation, he said, private schools were doing a roaring business. Still, most parents did not send their children to schools the fees of which were beyond their capacity.

Sohail, studying in a private school at Qaim Bharwana, said his father had been spending on his education, however, travelling was a problem for him. “I often bunk classes just to avoid long travel to school,” he giggled.

A visit to the land earmarked for the school showed that some people of nearby villages were stealing its soil due to which it had many ditches.

“We have informed the officials a number of times about the situation but protection of a school property figures nowhere on government agenda,” he said.

Published in Dawn, April 6th, 2015

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