LAHORE-Forty-five per cent boys primary schools across Pakistan don’t have benches for students, while 21 per cent lack this facility for the teaching staff, reveals a nation-wide survey report released by an NGO, which makes alarming revelations about the poor state of affairs in government-run schools where nation builders of the future get education.

According to the region-wise analysis, the highest percentage (10 per cent) of vacant teaching positions was observed in schools monitored in Punjab, followed by Sindh (7 per cent), Balochistan (6 per cent), KP (3 per cent) and Islamabad (3 per cent). All positions of non-teaching staff in schools monitored in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and FATA were filled. However, two of 12 such positions in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) and nine out of 63 in Sindh were vacant.

The report, which is based on monitoring of 161 government boys primary schools in 85 districts across Pakistan, has been prepared by Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN), working to foster democratic accountabilities in the country.

It is a network of 42 civil society organisations governed by the Trust for Democratic Education and Accountability.

About 95 boys primary schools out of 161 monitored across 85 districts in January 2012 were found to be without playgrounds.

As many as 129 schools (80.12 per cent) had electricity connections, but only 16 (9.93 per cent) had well-lit classrooms. Fans were available in 128 schools (79.50 per cent). However, 74 schools (45.96 per cent) were without benches/chairs for students while 35 (21.73 per cent) did not have chairs and tables for teachers. About three-fourths (118) schools had no teachers staff rooms.

Similarly, 38 schools (23 per cent) had no arrangements for clean drinking water for students while only eight (4.96 per cent) had sanitary workers. Other support staff-peons and security guards – was there in only 48 (29.8 per cent) and 55 (34.16 per cent) schools respectively, the report said. The class rooms in 133 schools (82.60 per cent) were found clean despite the unavailability of sanitary workers. The number of students per teacher in a monitored school of Khyber Agency in FATA was 62:1, followed by schools in KP and Balochistan with ratios of 45:1 and 42:1 respectively.

However, the student-teacher ratio in schools monitored in Punjab, Sindh and ICT was better - 34:1 in Punjab, 31:1 in Sindh and only 13:1 in ICT.

The attendance of the appointed staff in schools was satisfactory, teacher attendance in 89 per cent of the monitored schools being 76 per cent or higher. Attendance of students was more than 76 per cent in 86 per cent of the schools.

The highest number of 53 visits was made by some government officials and 39 by EDO/Education. Most of them were routine and monitoring visits; some surprise visits and some others for the purpose of checking attendance of teachers and students or to discuss issues faced by students, teachers and school administrations.