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SWABI: About 16 schools in two Afghan refugee camps here in the district lack security and the police have warned the management of these institutions on several occasions to take steps for improving the security arrangements.

A visit to the refugee camps by this correspondent on Saturday made it clear that there were primary, middle and high schools in the Gohati and Gandaf refugee camps where Afghan children had been acquiring education.

The number of schools has reduced and they hardly manage to accommodate the Afghan children who still stay in the two camps due to continued war in their motherland. There are eight schools each in Gandaf and Gohati camp. Both camps also have one each school for girls. There are 3,020 boys and 627 girl students in Gandaf camp, and about4,000 students in Gohati camp.

The teachers of these schools are disturbed and say that it is the duty of the UN agencies and NGOs to help them in provision of the required security.

“We can’t do anything without the help of the UN agencies and NGOs,” said a teacher of one of the schools.

The refugees residing in the camps and teachers said that they had made all-out efforts and contacted officials of the relevant agencies and NGOs, but no one came forward due to unknown reasons.

Sources said that officials of the Gadoon Amazai Industrial Police Station had met with heads of the schools several times, demanding to raise the boundary walls, instal barbed wire and improve the security at the entrance gate. They said that after the Bacha Khan University attack the police frequently visited them, but now they had stopped coming to check the security.

The refugees recalled that a number of Afghan children had acquired education in these schools established in the district soon after their arrival in 1979.

“These institutions are very beneficial for our children because we don’t have money to pay the private school fee. A number of them also get enrolled in various public sector schools to get education,” they said. They demanded of the UN agencies and NGOs to help their children in provision of adequate security to their educational institutions not only in the district, but across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and tribal belt.

Meanwhile, teachers of the public sector schools resented the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government’s decision to reduce their leaves (casual/occasional) from three days to just a single day in a month.

The teachers said that the district education department had issued an order that a teacher could avail of one leave in a month and if he/she needed a second one it could be secured from the DEO under special arrangements.

“The decision is against all service rules and norms. Our leaders have already called a meeting to discuss the issue,” said a teacher.

Published in Dawn, May 15th, 2016