Within a year of its inauguration, the building of Daanish School in the Attock district has started crumbling, forcing management to close down sections. A report by the Chief Minister Inspection Team, which investigated the faults and causes at the Malala Yousafzai Daanish School, has raised serious concerns about the soil survey, building and structural design, material used in the buildings and non-supervision of the work, terming all these factors major causes of the start of collapse of the building that had cost the nation millions of rupees within a year. This school was inaugurated by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Feb 14, 2013, and the cracks in the building started appearing in February 2014.

One can question the management involved in these schools and the lack of checks and balances, but nobody is willing to take responsibility. The Daanish Schools have been criticised as being a ploy for greater nepotism and corruption in appropriating government funds, and this example just supports concerns voiced in the past. The blame has been put on a third party that was hired to construct the school. The three professionals, who were part of the investigation, have said that defects in the building are “a result of structural failure and non-vetting of design and structural designs by the third party”. However, the process of awarding contract did not follow the official guidelines, which led to no transparency regarding their work.

With the education budget of next year, once again taking a major hit, is it really sad to come to the conclusion that the making of these schools have might only have political motives behind them. Each Daanish School campus is estimated to cost around Rs 1 billion and needs an estimated Rs 21 million annual operating expenditure. Looking at the lack of sustainability of these projects, one can rightly point out that the provincial government could have used these funds to strengthen some good schools in all tehsils and create a positive ripple effect in the broader education sector which is facing a severe dearth of resources. Good teachers and better teach training would have gone a long way in helping fix the system. It seems more reasonable that they should have focused more on facilities to millions of children studying in existing public schools instead of going for an unjust distribution of available resources and spending billions of rupees on exorbitantly expensive schools.