TIMERGARA: Girl students, their parents and local government representatives from Talash in Lower Dir on Monday complained that over 1000 girl students of the government girls’ higher secondary school (GGHSS) Ziarat Talash had no classrooms or shelter at the facility.
During a visit to the venue they told that the Humqadam, an implementing partner of the Department for International Development (DFID) had demolished the school’s building in 2015 and pledged to reconstruct the same till the end of 2017. They said after the demolishing, foundations of the school were dug up but no construction was started yet.
“We take classes in tents, verandas or under the sky as there is no seating place for us,” a sixth grader said, adding they could neither bear the sizzling heat in summer nor the chilly blows in winter. “My father wishes to shift me to another school from next year because of no building here,” another student said, adding their studies were badly affected as different classes had been adjusted closely.
Three of the classes have been arranged in tents where according to the students they found it difficult to read in this chilly winter. The district councilor from the area Fazal Qadir said the Humqadam, under its School Construction and Rehabilitation Programme (SCRP) after due paper work and budgeting demolished the school building in 2015 but reconstruction could not be started due to unknown reasons so far. He said the Humqadam concerned authorities and engineers on repeated contacts promised to start work on the project but to no avail.
Another councilor from the area said the school administration had arranged three classes in tents, some in verandahs while rest of the students were reading on the floor under the open sky. The Humqadam, a non-governmental organization is working in Pakistan on behalf of the DFID/UKAID with the governments of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to improve educational infrastructure and provide missing facilities to schools in these provinces. According to the Humqadam’s website the total budget allocated for SCRP was 184 million GBP (British Pounds) of which 164 million GBP was funded by DFID while 20 million GBP by DFAT.
The GGHSS Ziarat Talash is one of the schools in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to be reconstructed by the Humqadam. More than 1000 students are enrolled from grade 6th to 12th in the school with only three rooms for 17 classes. The enrollment of students on class XI and XII is 222 and 184 respectively.
A teacher of the school while requesting anonymity told that the staff too lacked proper seating facility. She said there were 40 teachers and they used one of the four rooms as staff-room facility. She said only three classes had rooms in the secondary portion.
A staffer of the Humqadam told on contact that earlier both the parties had agreed to construct 16 x 25 feet classrooms but later the education department suggested 20 x 24 feet rooms that led to unnecessary delay in reconstruction work. He said the organization was all set to start work on the project once the re-designing and budget revising was finalized.
The parents and local government representatives threatened to bring girl students on the road if the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, authorities of Humqadam and DFID failed to start work on the building before next academic session.
A source in education department said that like this, the building of government girls’ higher secondary school Chakdara and government girls’ higher secondary school Timergara had also been demolished which still awaited reconstruction. The source said the department was unable to reconstruct these schools due to their heavy budgets.