Unregistered schools continue to mushroom

Karachi, March 12, 2008: As the new academic session begins in the city, thousands of unregistered schools open up in the city every year, violating the rules and regulations prescribed in the by-laws of the Directorate Private Schools (DPS).

The Directorate seems to have failed to control the mushrooming of schools in the province, especially in Karachi. The centralisation of the DPS is one of the major reasons for this unchecked increase in the number of schools in the city.

A survey conducted by The News revealed that as the new session approaches, thousands of banners, big and small, appear at every street corner advertising 'Admissions open in English medium school'. Some of the banners even have incorrect spellings on them, for example the 'Oxford Grammer' school. It was also found that the authorities hardly ever make the effort of looking into these suspect schools, most of which are set up in small flats, buildings consisting of two rooms, a veranda, a bathroom, and a kitchen, the latter being used as a classroom for Montessori and Prep I classes.

The teachers employed in these schools are not trained and do not even have a Bachelor's degree to their credit. Moreover, these schools charge exorbitant amount of money as tuition and admission fees. Yet, most of the basic requirements remain unfulfilled, such as the requisite number of teachers. Often two different classes are held in the same room. In fact, many of these schools are opened in the basement of buildings with poor lighting, congested classrooms, basement toilets being used as science laboratories containing toxic chemicals, all of which are health hazards.

According to the law, all schools must be registered with the DPS, which due to shortage of manpower has failed to keep check on the mushroom growth of such schools. However, as per the centralisation of the DPS, any school that opens up in a far-flung area or interior Sindh must seek permission from the directorate. The directorate then sends its personnel for investigation on whose recommendation, the permission to open up the schools is finally accorded. Many people from the low-income group send their children (who previously went to government schools) to these schools, oblivious to the fact that the school in question may not be registered at all. Thus, they have no knowledge of the school's credibility per se.

The officials of the education department, said an insider, are bribed by the owners of the schools for presenting a clean report of the new school. And as the schools are in distant areas the officials don't bother to visit the school and gives a green signal to it.

Furthermore, these schools increase the fees arbitrarily in total contravention of the law which says that a school can increase its fees every three years, and that too after seeking permission from the DPS. The News

8,000 'ghost schools' in Sindh: minister
Karachi: The Sindh caretaker Minister for Education, Shujaat Ali Baig, on Tuesday disclosed that of the total 57,000 government schools across the province, over 8,000 were 'ghost schools', and in some cases feudal lords were using them as their 'Autaqs'.

He made these remarks while speaking at the launching of a book, a compilation of the poems of 380 poets rendered during 16 annual Mushairas held under the aegis of Sakinan Shehr-i-Quaid Mushaira Committee.

Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad was scheduled to launch the book and inaugurate the ground floor of the primary section of Majlis-i-Ilmi School Project, but could not make it due to his engagements.

The caretaker minister said that the standard of education in government schools throughout the province had declined to such an extent that there was no room left for further deterioration.

Referring to the education departmentís plan of setting up English medium schools in all the 18 town of the city, he said that teachers of these schools would be provided with sufficient training so that they could impart quality education to students.

He said that keeping in view the outcome of this experiment, similar schools would be opened in the interior of Sindh.

Lauding the efforts of the office-bearers of the Sakinan Shehr-i-Quaid Mushaira committee and Majlis-e-Ilmi School project for compiling the poetry of over 380 poets and opening a school, he said that the spirit with which they were working would definitely help them realize their dream of creating a society where moral values and tolerance would prevail over other worldly things.

The secretary of Majlis-i-Ilmi School, Azhar Abbas Hashmi, said that the primary section of the school would start functioning from August 1 provided the school got a proper water connection.

Highlighting the salient features of the school, he said that admissions to the school would be granted purely on merit and the top 10 students in the order of merit would be given free scholarships for the entire academic year.

Besides, hobbies clubs of the school would provide a number of facilities to students, he said.

In this regard, he pointed out that the ground floor of the building had already been completed on an amenity plot measuring 3,000 square yards in Gulistan-i-Jauharís Block 1, while a huge park and a playground for the students would be developed on an adjacent 3,000 square-yard plot which City Nazim Syed Mustafa Kamal had allotted to the school project.

Renowned writer Fatima Surraiya Bajia and Karachi Universityís vice-chancellor, Dr Pirzada Qasim, lauded the efforts being made by all those associated with the Sakinan Shehr-i-Quaidís Mushaira Committee, its Majlis-e-Ilmi School Project and its trust for their projects for the welfare of poets, writers and teachers. Dawn

Your Comments

"Very nice to find out that the project is almost completed. If I can be of any help, please let me know. Sincerity of actions is quite an unknown commodity now a days. My prayers and best wishes are with these people."
Name: Talat Isharat
Email: talatikhan@hotmail.com
City, Country: langhorne,usa



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