Undue delay in reconstruction of a building is affecting the enrolment as well as the process of imparting quality education to the children of two high schools.

Delay in reconstruction of Govt Al-Islah High School has caused dropping out of approximately 1,000 students and also downgrading its results. Govt Al-Islah High school was established by Anjuman Islah-e-Muslimeen, an NGO, in 1951 to impart quality and affordable education to people of Chiniot. The two-storey-building was constructed by eminent trader Seth Muhammad Yaqboob after birth of his son Kamal Akhtar.

The school was nationalised in 1973 by Bhutto regime. The school building developed cracks especially during 2005 earthquake and was declared dangerous by the buildings department. But, the students, having no other choice, continued to study in the dangerous building.

After hue and cry of parents lasted about six years, the Education Department allocated some Rs30 million for its reconstruction in 2012. The building was vacated in May 2012 and all the students were shifted in nearby Govt Islamia High School in evening shift.

There was six month period for construction of the building from May 2012 onward but the work has been delayed since last one and half years and only foundations and pillars could be laid for the three-storey structure. The delay was partially made due to approval of funds and partially by the constructor who has left the work due to non payment.  The six hours school time was reduced to 4 hours of study daily to both schools owing to time constraint. As there was no culture or tradition of having evening classes in schools, the students started dropping out gradually.

The strength of high classes was reduced from 1,701 in May 2012 to 1,180 now.  The primary section to 5th class was also affected as their strength reduced from 465 to 150. Moreover, the results and quality are also suffering in both the schools as Matric results which were around 80% in 2012 reduced to 60% this year. The teachers have their own excuses for this result and dropouts.

Muhammad Nawaz Bhutta, a teacher at the school, said that the six-hour study has been reduced to four hours affecting the teaching badly. Moreover, the afternoon time is relaxing and playing for children due to which the attendance is also thin, he added. He maintained that the students coming from villages on public transport could not get transport in the evening while going back so they opted for leaving the school or taking admission elsewhere. Moreover, the school children have no access to computer lab or science laboratory which is also affecting quality of education, he noted.

Malik Nasir Ali, the senior headmaster, confirmed that enrolment and results have been slashed. He said that there was a hostel of Govt College for Elementary Teachers lying vacant since many years and not a single student was residing there. Even then, he said, the college admen had refused the request of the school administration to hold classes there till completion of the building. Moreover, dozens of classrooms at Govt Islamia College were also lying vacant but the college administration too did not allow students to hold classes there, he regretted.

Malk Kaleem Raza, Assistant Director Admen, EDO Office Chiniot, said that both the colleges refused to entertain students as they did not come under purview of district government. So the Education Department has no option but to shift the school in the other school in evening classes.

Chiniot DCO Dr Irshad Ahmad said that buildings department has been directed to resume and accelerate work on the site. The parents and students have demanded that the Punjab chief minister and Secretary schools to ensure early completion of the building.