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THE compound behind Soldier Bazaar which houses several government schools.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star
THE compound behind Soldier Bazaar which houses several government schools.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

KARACHI: Parents of students who attended Irfan Government Boys High School and a few other schools in the same compound behind Soldier Bazaar, which are quietly being demolished, are concerned about where their children would attend school after the summer vacation.

There are some eight government schools within the compound, including Irfan Government Boys Secondary School, S.D. Abro Government Girls Secondary School, Qazi Khuda Bakhsh Government Boys Primary School and Surriya Government Boys Primary School. And all are being demolished systematically and quietly during evenings from inside while leaving the outer walls intact for the time being.

There are old school attendance registers lying among the rubble and broken school furniture. The school guard says that work on demolishing the building began on the first of Ramazan, and that the labourers doing the work come after Iftar and work through the night.

Most students of the schools hail from Katchi Para or Gul-i-Raana. Iqra, a ninth class student of S.D. Abro Government Girls Secondary School, said that she only saw now that her school building was being demolished. “No one informed me or my parents about it. I don’t know where I am going to go to school when classes resume after the summer holidays,” she said. “I am at a crucial stage of my education. I am to appear for my board exams for the first time next year.”

Parents in the dark about where their children will go to school after summer break

Jahangir, a kindergarten student of Irfan Government Boys Secondary School, also shook his head when asked where he would go to school now that his school building was being demolished. He only pointed to the old school building not knowing any other school.

Waseem, a resident of Gul-i-Raana, and the father of two young girls who also attended S.D. Abro Government Girls Secondary School before the summer vacations, said that he had heard through word of mouth that the children would be attending classes for the time being at Lal Building. “But I am not sure where this Lal Building is. Some parents I met said that classes may also be organised by the roadside now. But I am not sure whether they were serious or just being sarcastic,” he said.

Zarina Hanif, also a resident of Gul-i-Raana, said that her three daughters attended class two, three and four at S.D. Abro Government Girls Secondary School. “All three of my daughters were down with Chikungunya unable to go to school before Ramazan so I only heard about the school building from my nieces, who also go to the same school,” said the concerned mother.

“When I visited the school, there was no one there except for the guard, who didn’t know much except that the government will build a new school building in place of the old one,” she said. “He also told me that there would be a meeting after the summer holidays where the parents will also be invited to discuss where the children would study while the new building is being constructed. But we were not notified about all this by any letter or call about all this,” she added.

“Some parents also say that the students of S.D. Abro Government Girls Secondary School would be shifted to some school in Lines Area where they will be accommodated in the afternoon shift. I hope that isn’t true because Lines Area is not that nearby. It won’t be easy for young girls to travel that far to attend school,” she said.

When Dawn tried to call the School Education Department Secretary Abdul Aziz Uqaili, it was said that he was on vacation in Australia till after Eid.

Several attempts were made to reach the Sindh Building Control Authority’s officer in charge of the area but all in vain.

Published in Dawn, June 23rd, 2017