The buildings of about 400 government schools that were merged with other schools due to less number of students long ago in Sialkot district are being grabbed and used as cattle den by influential people, reveals a survey.

These schools’ buildings have been lying empty for the last several years. In a report, Alif Ailaan’s campaign coordinators Muhammad Ali and Muhammad Arsalan Khan disclosed this while briefing the media about the education status in the government schools in Sialkot district.

They said that there are a total 2,403 government schools in Sialkot district, out of which, 400 schools were merged with the nearby schools due to the less number of the students there several years ago. These schools’ buildings have been lying empty as the provincial government did not ensure proper use of these buildings. Local people found the proper use of these buildings by converting them into cattle dens and storing fodder there.

They regretted that the district administration remained unable to get these buildings retrieved. They said that Alif Ailaan had sent two proposals to the Punjab government to convert these buildings into the community centres to be rented out to private schools.

They said that the situation should be an “eye opener” for everyone. They said that the district had 8th position in national ranking and 6th position in provincial ranking regarding the out of school children. They said that 159,625 children are the out of school out of which 15 percent between the age of 5 to 16 years. Twenty-three percent children belong to poor families and 6 percent children belong to the rich, they added.

They added, “There are a total of 1,523 government primary schools in Sialkot district. Nine percent government schools do not have boundary walls, 18 percent schools were still lying deprived of electricity facility, 70 percent schools do not have toilets, 4 percent children have never been to school while 4 percent government schools do not have the facility of the potable water in Sialkot district.”

They said that due to the off and on shelling by the Indian Border Security Forces on the government schools located in the border villages, students are reluctant to go to the schools.

Another main problem is that the community in general is illiterate and they are not interested in improving condition of the schools.

They said that the building of Govt Primary School Beeni Sulehriyaan, Sabzpeer Markaz in Pasrur tehsil no longer exists despite having land of 6 kanals. It has only 16 students with 6 teachers, they added.

The government schools at villages Kingra, Jarwaal, Theekaryaal, Joiyaan, Raipur, Dhoolum Kahilouaan, Chak Atma Ram, Beeni Sulehriyaan, Deengey and Waghay lack boundary walls in Pasrur tehsil.

They suggested to guide the school councils, and urged the government to stop overburdening the government school teachers with extra duties.