PESHAWAR: The recent monstrous floods and rains have damaged around 1,100 government schools in different parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, impacting the studies of thousands of students.
According to data compiled by the elementary and secondary education department about the damage caused by the devastating floods, 246 schools have been damaged fully and 838 have been damaged partially by the floodwater.
Majority of the losses have caused to the government primary schools. The data of the education department shows that 205 primary schools are fully damaged and 683 are partially damaged.
Similarly, the number of fully damaged middle schools is 14 and partially damaged 62. The floods have also fully damaged 19 government high schools and partially damaged 74 others while the number of fully damaged government higher secondary schools stands at eight and partially damaged at 19.
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“Right now the high-ups of the education department are scratching their heads how to repair the schools within minimum time and save the precious time of the students,” a senior official of the education department told Dawn.
He expressed apprehensions about the possible dropout of students enrolled in 246 fully damaged schools.
According to a survey of Benazir Income Support Programme, currently 39 per cent of 11.7 million children of the province from five to 16 year of age are out of school.
The survey, which was carried out as part of the BISP’s national socio-economic registry census with the help of elementary and secondary schoolteachers, shows that the number of children not attending school in the province is 4.7 million. Of them, one million live in tribal districts.
The floods have hit hard Dera Ismail Khan from where more losses to life and property have reported as compared to other parts the province.
The data shows that 51 government schools have fully damaged and 145 partially in Dera Ismail Khan; 37 fully and 99 partially in Dir Lower; 25 fully and seven partially in Lower Kohistan; 20 fully and 102 partially in Swat;18 fully and 103 partially in Tank; 10 fully and 25 partially in Upper Chitral; 10 fully and six partially in Upper Kohistan;10 fully and 36 partially in Mansehra; 10 fully and 36 partially in Nowshera; and 14 school have fully and nine partially damaged in Haripur.
The district education officer of Dera Ismail Khan told Dawn that academic activities were started in majority of the schools located in Daraban, Kulachi and Paroa areas as buildings of schools were still filled with slush as stagnant water up to the roof remained there for many days.
He said that education department was helpless in removing the slush from the school buildings and the areas outside the schools. “We are arranging tents with the help of Unicef for the students whose schools buildings are not usable as such buildings are either filled with slush or fully damaged,” he added.
He said that they were also arranging rented buildings to start the academic activities.
A senior official of education department, when contacted, told Dawn that government was working on different option to arrange funds for the reconstruction of schools as well as to provide immediate shelter to the students of the fully damaged schools.
“We have diverted funds earmarked for the slow going development schemes to the reconstruction of fully damaged schools and repair of the partially damaged,” he said.
The official said that Unicef had decided to establish prefabricated structures for the damaged schools to immediately start the academic activities. The Unicef has also decided to divert around Rs500 million funds to the reconstruction of school buildings from other ongoing schemes in the education sector.
Similarly, he said, the government was negotiating with international donor organisations to get help in the reconstruction process as it was not possible for the cash-starved Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to alone bear the brunt of the climate change, which caused the floods and unprecedented increase in the rains.
Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2022