SHANGLA: The number of students of government high school, Shang, in Shangla district has shrunk from around 300 to just 45 in the last five years after its building was demolished by the education department on the directives of the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority. The building had developed cracks as a result of the 2005 earthquake.
Built in 1965 by the then Wali (ruler) of Swat, Mian Gul Jehanzeb, to educate the people of backward Shang village, the school building was raised to ground in 2010 after Erra declared it unsafe for the students.
Around 300 students were enrolled in the school in 2010, but now it has 45 students left because of lack of classrooms. Situated on the Karakoram Highway (KKH), Shang village has about 3,000 population and it was the only school where students from Shang and surrounding villages, including Batkot, Maira, Dandai, Besham and Karora, were getting education.
Ahmed, a student of class 9th, told Dawn that the students were facing severe problems in the rented building. He said that the rooms were so dark that they were unable to see the blackboard while the building had no facilities of electricity, drinking water and washrooms.
The quake-hit school building was dismantled in 2010, but still not rebuilt
Umar Gul, an 8th class student, said that even the PTI-led provincial government had failed to reconstruct the school. He said that after demolition of the school building in 2010 they were shifted to tented classes and then to a congested rented building. He said that most of the students had either shifted to schools in far-flung areas or they left education as their parents could not afford to send them to other schools.
Mohammad Zeb, the headmaster of GHS Shang, claimed that the building was not as dangerous as declared by Erra. He said that students were forced to study in tents for over one and a half years and the number of students shrunk drastically. He said that today their number stood at below 50. He said that the students were shifted three times from one building to another during the last three years which had badly affected their studies.
Aurang Zeb Khan, assistant education officer, told Dawn that work on reconstruction of the school could not be started so far due to lack of funds with the Provincial Disaster Management Authority.
Published in Dawn, January 21st, 2016