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Girl’s govt schools function without teachers, utilities

ISLAMABAD: Government girls’ high schools across the country are functioning without either the requisite number of teachers or other utilities such as electricity, drinking water and security, according to a Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) report.

The report contains a region-wise breakup of government girls’ schools in Punjab, Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) with information regarding school facilities, teacher and student attendance and hygiene, amongst other basic provisions expected from an educational institute.

According to the report, 11% of teaching positions were vacant in government girls’ high schools monitored in April, with 160 positions lying unoccupied in 55 schools against the 1,390 that have been sanctioned. This information was provided by governance monitors that visited the schools on behalf of FAFEN. According to the information collected, the highest percentage of vacant teaching positions was in Sindh at 31%, followed by K-P (13%), Fata (6%) and Punjab (5%).

A total of 44% of the monitored schools were without libraries, while 36% did not have laboratory equipment for science experiments. Another 32% schools lacked playgrounds and had no dedicated staff for physical training. Additionally, 14% schools had no arrangements for clean drinking water.

The occupancy rate of non-teaching positions was comparatively better than teaching positions with 9% of posts being vacant. In the 55 schools that were willing to share information, 410 out of the total 450 sanctioned posts were occupied. A total of 57 out of 59 schools monitored had peons, 51 schools had security guards and 48 had sanitary workers.

The attendance of teachers was better than that of students, with 90% of the observed schools reporting attendance of more than 75% as compared to 78% schools having a similar satisfactory percentage for the attendance of students. The lower attendance of the students can be attributed to weak administration. However, in conflict regions, security threats may be a factor preventing parents from sending their children to school.

The student-teacher ratio was at an average of 30 students-per-teacher. Punjab had the lowest number of students-per-teacher (26), followed by Sindh and Fata (35 each) and then K-P (37). The government had set a limit of 50 students-per-teacher for high schools. None of the regions managed to sustain this average.

The report said that all the monitored schools were housed within proper buildings and all except four had boundary walls. Although all schools had electricity connections, classrooms in three schools did not have fans. Classrooms of 91% schools were found clean; 95% had black/white boards; 80% had benches for students in all classrooms and 86% had chairs and tables for teachers.

The Express Tribune