Only one out of 83 destroyed schools rebuilt in Mohmand
Fauzee Khan Mohmand
GHALANAI: Despite tall claims of authorities about improvement in law and order situation in Mohmand Agency, only a single school out of the total 83 educational institutions, destroyed during the last three years, has been rebuilt so far.
“About 20,000 students, both girls and boys, have been deprived of getting education owing to destruction of schools in the tribal region,” officials of education department said.
Sources said that authorities failed to devise an effective strategy for protection of educational institutions in Mohmand where literacy rate was already low.
“Work has been initiated to reconstruct some of the blown up schools. But the pace of work is very slow. No one can say when these schools will be made functional again,” officials said.
The tribesmen, on whose land these schools have been set up, are also not satisfied with the situation. “The teachers, particularly women teachers, are not able to perform duty in the insecure areas owing to fears of kidnapping in the absence of proper protection,” they said.
Usually students say goodbye to education after destruction of their school. Those students, who want to continue their studies, of the destroyed schools have to attend classes in the open.
“After destruction of our school two months ago, we were shifted to the upper portion of the same building but now most of the students don`t come to school due to fear,” said Javeria, a grade IV student of Government Girls Primary School Khwajawas Kor in Haleemzai tehsil.
She said that 350 students were enrolled in the school but only 200 continued their studies after the blast. The girls, who still come to the school, attend classes in the open as hardly any classroom is left undamaged. The washrooms and water tank of the school were also destroyed in the blast.
But like thousands other students, Javeria and her sister Fatima, daughters of a local farmer, have also stopped going to school now.
Sources said that out the 89 schools, 12 were destroyed completely while the rest were partially damaged but they could not be used as most of the parents preferred to keep their children away from the dangerous structures.
“Female education in the rural areas is already next to nil. Now militants have blown up at least 25 girl schools, forcing majority of girl students to say goodbye to education,” residents said.
Safi is the most affected tehsil of the tribal region as 45 educational institutions have been targeted by militants, including Lakaro Degree College, in the area.
Sources said that 18 schools were targeted in Khewazai, 11 in Ambar, six in Pandiali, four in Ekka Ghund, two in Ghallanai and one in Prang Ghar tehsil.
These targeted institutions also include seven middle and five high schools besides a degree college. The Pandiali high school has been reconstructed by the administration with the help of local tribesmen.
Agency Education Officer Said Mohammad Khan, when contacted, said that he was trying to ensure presence of teachers at their respective schools. He said that all the teachers were bound to perform duty regularly.
He added that he was visiting schools regularly. He said that he suspended many teachers, who were found absent from duty/
On the other hand teachers said that they continued to perform duty when militancy was on the rise in the agency but the government turned a blind eye to their problems. They said that there were no security and transport arrangements for them.
Some of them said that majority of the students of the bombed schools were reluctant to attend classes due to fear of attacks. They also demanded special allowances for working in unsafe and volatile areas.
Political Agent Adil Saddiq was determined to reconstruct all the blown up schools. “The government has allocated funds for schools and is also getting support from different donors for the purpose,” he said.