Govt merges 725 schools

F.P. Report

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has merged 725 schools in the province with schools having higher number of students and that which fall within less than the prescribed criteria for establishment of new schools.

The decision was taken in lieu of high number of schools established by previous governments without following the criteria for construction of schools.

According to the provincial minister for Elementary and Secondary education Atif Khan, most of the merged schools were constructed by previous governments for political gains. Schools throughout the province, having enrolments of less than 40 students, are being merged with schools that are located in less than 2km radius, he added.

“These schools have low enrollments and have been constructed in unfeasible areas. Moreover, their maintenance continues to be a huge burden on the provincial exchequer with no obvious output, he stated.

Since 2013, the department of E&SE has been successful in establishing more than 2700 new schools.  However, 300 new higher secondary schools have been established making the total number of higher secondary schools to 605 as compared to 308 schools in 2013. Figures made available by the department of E&SE indicate that the number of high schools today is 2,220 compare to 1,796 in 2013.

Though, the government added 1039 new schools including primary, middle, high and higher secondary schools. Moreover, 1660 Maktab schools were also merged in the primary schools. As a result of the merger process, the total number of Maktab schools to 836 today.

The department of Elementary & Secondary education has taken a number of steps for the betterment of education services including rationalization of the number of schools in the province.

The objective of this initiative is to rationalize government resources and spending on schools.

The rationalization of schools, started in 2014, is aimed at elimination of schools with low performance, low enrolment and in areas where another primary school is available in the vicinity or where two schools are operating in the same building.

In lieu of the rationalization initiative, the department identified hundreds such of schools which were established on political basis without following criteria and were either operated in rented buildings, open spaces or Hujras. As a result of this initiative, 725 schools have been merged which include 550 boy’s primary schools, 141 girls’ primary schools and about 35 middle and high schools.

The standardization of schools moves beyond the curriculum and include provision of modern classrooms, multipurpose halls, computer labs, interactive boards, functional washrooms, sports grounds, filter plants for clean drinking water, science labs fully equipped with up to date equipment and facilities for disabled children as well.

The merger process of the E&SED has clearly highlighted the priorities of the department which strictly discourage establishment of schools on political basis especially in the areas where already one primary school exists in less than 1.5 kilometers and in areas where middle and high schools exist in less than 3 kilometers.