Sikandar Haider

DERA GHAZI KHAN

Despite “availability of funds”, the district administration has failed to devise a plan to rehabilitate the dilapidated buildings of schools in Dera Ghazi Khan especially of Government MC Girls Primary School No4 and Government MC Boys School No2.

More than 100 students of these two schools are forced to study in a tent due to its dilapidated building situated at Block No6. The 110 years old building has already been declared fully dangerous for students to study there by the Building Department. Nevertheless, the district administration and the Education Department seem non-serious about the danger.

On April 22, 2015, the roof of the dilapidated building of Government Girls Primary Mujahidabad Colony collapsed and more than 20 students were trapped while five students were critically injured. After that, the administration had sprung in action but a few days later, it again turned a blind eye to the issue.

Headmistress Mrs Shahida Ayub told The Nation that the school building was built as a residence by a Hindu in 1905. “After partition of the Subcontinent, the government of Pakistan set up the school in the building in 1948. The building consists of four rooms, two verandas with wooden roof which all are in poor condition. The students of Government MC Boys School Block are also studying here because their school building has also been declared fully dangerous,” she added.

Altaf Hussain, a teacher, said that land mafia wanted to grab the whole building while part of the building has been occupied in the name of mosque. The students complained that they were deprived of the facility of drinkable water. They are feeling insecure because the government has not made security arrangement for them, they added.

Their parents also complained that their children are facing unavailability of basic facilities in public schools. They flayed the government over its claims including “Parrho Punjab, Barrho Punjab” and that 0.5 million children would be enrolled at 70,000 schools in the division and that the officers of Education Department and the DOCs of the four districts of the division would take classes at primary schools twice a week to promote primary education.

Haji Khalil Khan, a public servant, questioned the funds of Rs20 million for the construction of boundary walls of schools in the district till May 31, 2015 and of Rs190 million for 82 new educational schemes in the division.

When contacted, District Officer Education (Female) Mrs Ferzana Bukhari said that the department had informed the district administration about the dilapidated condition of the school building.

She maintained that administration had conducted a survey of 216 schools of district including that one. Hopefully very soon, after sanction of budget, the construction of new rooms would be started, she said.

District Monitoring Officer for Education Mr Ghulam Yaseen said that the construction of new buildings was on the priority of the administration. Even Punjab government has keen interest in the reconstruction of dilapidated buildings, he added.

A source from DCO office on the request of anonymity said that the district administration had completed only paperwork while financial year is about to end on June 30. However, he added, the DCO could not make a rehabilitation plan to initiate the process of reconstruction of the dilapidated buildings of schools in the district.

Other sources said that on the retirement of one teacher namely Riaz Ahmed Owaisi, the district administration had closed down Government MC Boys School No2 near Iron Market. Now, the building is under the use of Education Department as a store, they added.

On the other hand, in tribal area, more than 25 percent of district schools are shelter-less, even due to non availability of roads, most of schools exist in papers as they have been closed down.

This scribe tried to contact DCO Nadeemur Rehman but the latter was not available for his comments on the issue.