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LAHORE: A survey conducted by a non-government organisation reveals that most government schools in Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s constituency PP-159, Lahore, lack the required strength of teachers and other basic facilities such as boundary walls, classrooms and security guards.

In this all-important constituency, there are 134 schools -- 108 primary, 11 middle and 15 high schools.

According to Alif Ailaan’s survey report, none of these schools has a security guard. The boundary walls of most of the schools are short and they have neither barriers at entry and exit points of the gates nor barbed wires on the walls.

The report (a copy of which has been shared with Dawn) says there are 10 combined science laboratories in the schools; two are for chemistry, two for physics and one for biology. The government schools don’t have established laboratories for science subjects.

The schools including the Government Primary School, Keerka, and the Girls High School, Jaman, are facing shortage of teachers. Under the Student-Teacher Ratio (STR) minimum two teachers are supposed to be appointed for more than 40 students. Some of the schools are without washrooms and many others have combined washrooms for girls and boys.

Owing to shortage of classrooms in the schools, says the report, the students have to sit in the open in extreme weather conditions and during rains.

“A primary school at Lidhar village lacks classrooms and other basic facilities. There are three classrooms for six classes and 400 students. The condition of two rooms is that it has no roof and class III is being held in the corridor. Other three classes are being held in the open even without any shade,” according to the report. It further says the furniture of the school is placed in the open and is in a rundown condition.

The school principal says they have filed numerous complaints over the issue but got no response.

The Government High School, Hair, has more than 1,000 students but it lacks science laboratory and only one room has been allotted for the purpose. The other problem the students are facing is that there is a steel mill adjacent to the school which causes noise pollution.

There are two primary schools at Dera Chal village for combined classes and which have excessive number of teachers and less number of students.

The Government Girls High School, Youhanabad, constructed over one year ago, has not been made functional.

Sources said the chief minister had not been available to inaugurate the school due to political situation.

The report further says there are fewer middle schools in the constituency of the chief minister and students especially girls have to travel to far-off areas. It also suggests increasing the number of middle and high schools in the area.

Provincial Secretary Schools Education Dr Allah Bakhsh Malik told Dawn that 6,000 classrooms were under construction in the province and the project would be completed till Feb 28. He said the government had increased the literacy rate by 10pc in the province and efforts were being made to recruit educators and fill the vacant posts.

He said Early Child Education programme was a proof of the government’s efforts to improve education. Teachers were being trained to help improve the standards of education, he added.

Published in Dawn, December 27th, 2017