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GHALANAI: The Fata Secretariat will close about 102 government schools under the rationalisation programme in Mohmand Agency.

Mohmand physical supervisor of the education department Ismail Khan said the government schools not fulfilling the enrolment ratio and proper distance criteria would be closed and merged into other schools in the area. “The programme‘s purpose is to optimise the use of government resources,” he added.

He said the education department had resolved to organise learning institutions in accordance with the required standards to boost quality education in government schools.

There are total 596 educational institutions, including 463 primary schools, 65 middle schools, 31 high schools, two higher secondary schools and three colleges, in Mohmand Agency.

Sources said that 59 boys schools, 29 girls primary schools and four boys and two girls middle schools would be closed from new academic session. Government primary school Pratha Kally was also included in the list of schools failing the enrolment criteria. The school was built in 1987-88 and commenced regular classes in 1990. Only 62 students are currently enrolled there.

A local, Adnan Khan, said closing of more than 100 schools in the militancy-hit region negated the government claim of promoting education in the tribal areas.

It is to be mentioned here that 126 schools were damaged during militancy in the area, which deprived approximately 20,000 children of basic education facility. Of the total damaged schools, work is underway on 50 schools.

Officials said as many as 25 boys primary schools and 14 girls primary schools in Safi, one each girls and boys primary school in Prang Ghar, Pandaili, 11 boys and four girls in Haleemzai, five boys and one girls school in Khewazai, five boys and four girls schools at Ekkaghund, 11 boys and five girls in Biazai tehsils would be closed.

“Four boys middle and two girls middle schools in Haleemzai tehsil will also be closed during the rationalisation process,” said the officials.

They said the school peons would be responsible for looking after the buildings, however, once they retired no peon would be hired for these schools.

A tribal elder, Haji Baghi Shah, told Dawn that schools and healthcare facilities had already been hit hard during militancy, and the closure of more schools under the government’s so-called rationalisation programme would add to the tribal people’s misery.

He said there were 72 students in girls’ primary school in Ato khel area, which was established 30 years ago, but now it had been included in the rationalisation programme.

Baghi Shah said Mohmand tribal elders would hold a jirga in Ghalanai on Wednesday and would hold demonstrations outside Governor House in Peshawar if the programme was not shelved.

Published in Dawn, April 5th, 2016