Pakistan: Closure of girls' schools in the Northwest Frontier Province

The closure of 204 Government Community Primary Schools in NWFP: 408 female teachers and 14,000 girl students affected.
"‘At present there are 22573 Government Primary Schools out of which 14855 are for boys and 7718 for girls. These schools are not sufficient for population which is growing at the rate of 2.8% per annum’ says a PC1 of the education scheme of NWFP government prepared in 2002 with the allocation of 10 million rupees initially and implemented in all 24 districts.
This document further provides information ‘according to the available figures 1.392 million children have not been provided the facility of a primary school’ this was a justification provided for the launching of the scheme. It is further stated that this 10 million amount will be spent on staff salaries, furniture, equipment and class room consumable of the 204 schools. it was projected in the provincial budget NWFP under the ADP scheme 2002-03 S.No 12 (20882- Opening of 204 New primary schools in NWFP).

The schools according to the PC1 of the scheme were opened keeping the criteria of the 1 KM from the government schools. Two female teachers were appointed each for school with the total of 408 female teachers on monthly salary of 2500/-. About fourteen thousand girls were admitted in these schools. The school places were provided to by the local community free of cost.

According to the PC1 of the scheme, this scheme was started for 36 months (3 years) and this was committed by the PC1 that these schools will be regularized (shifted to current side) after 1st July 2005. As per PC1 of the schools will be evaluated after three years and provided building, for which community will provide 2 Kenal land free of cost. The extensions were provided for the period beyond July 2005. The salaries of the teachers were paid up to December 2006, and after that in some districts these female teachers were terminated due to the reason of shortage of funds.

The teachers and community has made several contacts and sent applications to the high-up of the education department including Akram Khan Durrani Chief Minister NWFP, Molana Fazal Ali Haqani the Minister for Education NWFP. Up till now no response is given to them. The teachers are performing their duties with out paying a single penny to them. In district Dir upper 22 teachers of these schools were terminated on 29th May, 2007 vide notice no. 11304-25/F-76/EDO, mentioning the reason of non provision of budget with effect from 1/1/07.

It is learnt that provincial government has informed the district education offices to close these schools due to the shortage of funds. On the other hand the provincial government claims for the spreading of education to every one in the province. Several public sector projects both at federal and provincial level are claiming for the universalization of the primary education (UPE) and achievements of the Education for All (EFA) goals. The parents of the girls studying in one of the community school at Paloso Daag Dir lower has condemned the closure of these schools and has demanded that government should construct building and continue the existing schools as committed in PC1. Mr. Naushad Khan, General Councilor Khazana demanded for the increase of salary from Rs. 2500 as the government minimum salary wage Rs. 4600. They further informed that government has not provided free books to these government community primary schools. They demanded for books, and furniture for these schools.

Source: WLUML networkers