The Supreme Court on Monday observed that government Schools collapsed during the 2005 earthquake had not been constructed by the government during the hearing of Humaira bibi, a School teacher’s compulsory retirement case. A two-member Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed heard the case and expressed concern over the non-construction of schools that collapsed in the 2005 earthquake. The court issued notice to the Chief Secretary Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), Secretary Education KPK, Secretary Elementary and Secondary Education, Director District Education Mansehra regarding non-construction of Schools.
The 7.6 magnitude earthquake hit Azad Kashmir and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, particularly five Districts of the province including Abbottabad, Shangla, Mansehra, Kohistan and Battagram on Oct 8, 2005. According to reports, 3660 government Schools were destroyed during the earthquake some 16 years ago. According to government statistics, Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA) surveyed all Schools and assumed the responsibility of reconstruction of 2990 Schools of the affected Districts of the KP. According to a KPK government report, ERRA completed the construction work of 1800 Schools while construction work of 1100 Schools were in progress during 2019. According to reports, KP government had spent Rs. 1.3 billion on construction work of remaining 670 Schools during 2014-2019 and Construction work had been done on 540 Schools during this tenure, however 220 Schools are still untouched, and no work has been initiated on those schools so far.
The reports suggest that the lack of interest of provincial as well as Federal government is the main reason for non completion of the construction of government Schools. According to reports, many Schools had been permanently closed by the education Department and some are being operated in rented buildings or in tents. The Private Schools have filled the gap, while School teachers are being paid regularly by the government. The District’s administration has no interest in the issue therefore, the vanished schools had not been reconstructed over the last 16 years. The KP government had approached the federal government several times for allocation of funds but still education of poor masses had not attracted the attention of the rulers. The peak which remained unconquerable for the government over the last 16 years might be scrambled by the Court in coming days.