KARACHI, Feb 28: The officials of an NGO, Sparc Karachi have alleged that the shifting of old educational institutions of Karachi and selling their premises to the land-mafia for commercial purposes is detrimental to education and our future generations. The school children of Karachi are being deprived of education under a conspiracy, they feel.

They pointed out that on one hand millions of rupees are being spent to promote education on one hand and 22 schools are run in the premises of two schools in Lyari. The sky-rocketing price of land is said to be the major factor in depriving students of school buildings, other well-placed sources added.

Other ources in the education department and parents of pupils said that their children studied in separate schools, however, with the passage of time, the school buildings were vacated and they were shifted to one school.

One such a school is DCTO School, Nayabad in Khadda Market, where 13 other schools are being run. They are Sindhi Primary School, Govt Alomal-Tekamdas Sindhi Primary School, Govt. Moosa Lane Sindhi Primary School, Govt Moosa-Lane Gujrati Primary School, DCTO Boys’ Primary School, DCTO Boys’ Secondary School, Govt Girls’ Sakeena Bai Phatto Primary School, Govt Girls’ Moladad Primary School, Govt Girls’ Moosa Lane Primary School, Govt. Girls’ Sindhi Primary School, Moosa Lane Boys’ School, Govt Boys Secondary School, Model Boys’ Secondary School.

The other such school is A.R Sualeh Mohammed Govt Boys’ School, Shah Beg Lane, in which seven other schools are housed i.e., Jan Mohammad Haji Dosal Govt Boys’ School, Govt. Boys Secondary School Lyari 1, Govt Boys Secondary School Lyari 3, Ubaidullah Govt Boys’ Primary School, Primary School Hussainia, New Shams-Peer Govt Boys’ School, Baloch Mohalla Govt Boys’ Primary School, Government Islamia Nawabad Sindhi Primary School, and Government School Baghdadi.

The Society for the Protection of Rights of the Child (Sparc) conducted a survey of Lyari schools and found mounds of trash and rubbish on the premises of these schools, drug addicts roaming around, stagnant water in grounds are a sight not new to these children. Much has been said and written on the condition of these schools but the poor students wonder whether there will ever be any progress to improve the lot of their institutions.

During a visit by a Sparc team to the DCTO School, the assembly ground was in stagnant water. The team found more than 10 drug-addicts sitting and lying around toilets of the schools and consuming drugs while students were forced to use these toilets in their presence. There was garbage present in the school and giving off an unbearable odour. A recently built structure meant to house classrooms was abandoned without any attention depicting a sorry state.

In the other school premises, DCTO school, pupils studying in a school in Nazimabad were shifted out months ago to another institution without giving a thought how the children would get to this school located far from their homes.

The features common in both schools was students were roaming outside their classrooms while the teachers were not bothered to ask them why they were out of class. In both schools, attendance was thin and there was no teacher or supervisor. There was no drinking water for students in any of the schools visited.

Ejaz Abbasi (UC Head Supervisor School) told the team that Sindhi as a medium of education is in vogue only till the middle-level and thereafter students either have to switch to either Urdu or English medium, which makes their attempt to acquire education that more difficult.

The Sparc team observed that millions of rupees are being spent on informal education, but no steps are being taken to make sure that these premises are kept safe for the children. The government should merge all these schools, or separate them in other buildings. It observed that selling school premises be stopped immediately and if such this practised is not stopped, Karachi would loose its symbolic heritage and historical buildings.

A school in Firdous Colony was demolished recently which had four schools on its premises with more than 1,000 students. An inquiry was ordered by the Sindh education minister with Education Secretary Sabhago Jatoi as inquiry officer. The report did not mention the main culprits responsible for the handing over of the school building’s possession in violation of rules but tried to justify the action by referring to letters and orders passed some eight years ago about handing over of the school building to a private individual.

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