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Over 300 schools in Swat without basic amenities

Updated February 27, 2018

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Students study in roofless classroom of a government primary school in Bishbanr. — Dawn
Students study in roofless classroom of a government primary school in Bishbanr. — Dawn

MINGORA: The educationists and social civil society members have shown concerns over lack of basic facilities in the government schools in Swat.

They said that lack of basic facilities in schools was one of the key factors of the poor quality of education in the valley. They also questioned the claims of provincial government about promotion of education in the province.

The educationists said that despite making tall claims, the government failed to provide basic facilities to schools. They said that of 1,631 government schools in Swat, 1,367 were primary and of them 593 schools were for girls.

They said that a recent survey conducted by Independent Monitoring Unit showed that 327 schools in Swat lacked all basic facilities. The survey shows that at least three schools in PK-80 constituency, 41 schools in PK-81 constituency, 34 schools in PK-82 constituency, 43 schools in PK-83 constituency, 91 schools in PK-84 constituency, 78 schools in PK-85 and 37 schools in PK-86 constituency lack all basic facilities.

‘Poor teaching methodology hampers quality education’

The survey says that 204 schools are without electricity with two schools in PK-80, 19 schools in PK-81, 16 in PK-82, 30 in PK-83, 67 in PK-84, 54 in PK-85 and 16 schools in PK-86.

It shows that 216 schools lack water supply in Swat with one school in PK-80, 34 in PK-81, 27 in PK-82, 29 in PK-83, 57 in PK-84, 37 in PK-85 and 31 schools in PK-86.

The survey says that 54 schools in the district are without toilets while 47 have no boundary wall. Likewise, 652 schools in the district don’t have the playground facility.

Lack of basic facilities in schools has negative impacts on the studies of students. “We have no toilet in our school. I feel shame to go out to fields for call of nature so I control it and then use toilet at home,” said a girl student in Bishbanr village. The students said that private schools had chairs, toilets, drinking water and fans in the classrooms.

Rafiullah, a third grader, said that their school in Nazarabad Ogdo had no building. He said that he sat on ground that made his clothes dirty. The educationist said that drop off ratio remained higher in the schools, which lacked basic facilities.

“There is always a big difference between the students of standard schools having all basic facilities and the schools, which lack facilities. Majority of the students, who get education in the schools lacking facilities are always behind the others,” said Prof Azharud Din of Swat University. The survey shows that teachers’ presence in all the government schools in Swat remains 89 per cent while students’ presence remains 74 per cent.

Apart from poor infrastructure, ineffective teaching methodology is the real hindrance to quality education in Swat.

“It is a pity that 69 per cent of fifth graders can’t read a simple story in Urdu, 78 per cent of them can’t read a sentence in English while 90 per cent of them can’t do a third grade level two-digit division,” said Dr Jawad Iqbal, an education activist.

He said that Swat was put on 86th number among the 141 districts of the country according to Alif Ailaan Pakistan District Education Ranking in 2017.

Nawab Ali Khan, the district education officer, when contacted, said that government provided conditional grant to the department to provide missing facilities to the schools.

“We are in the process of shifting grants to the schools, which lack basic facilities. I hope that almost all the missing facilities will be provided to the schools,” he said.

Published in Dawn, February 27th, 2018