A unique school in 'parha likha Punjab'
RAWALPINDI, Sept 6: The Government Primary School, Harwan, is unique among
institutions of its kind: it is co-educational, has five rooms for 500 students,
200 of whom sit on benches while 300 squat on mats. And all rush homewards in
times of need as the school has no toilets.
Started as a boys school it
became co-educational when girls of the area eager to get education could not
find a separate school for themselves. Admission of the girls swelled the rolls
to nearly five hundred. Now the mixed lot of students share the five rooms of
the school, at least 80 to a class, the overfill spilling to the open outside.
Of the 500 only 200 have benches to sit, the rest squat on the floor.
credit for allowing the girls to join a boys school goes both to the school
administration as well as the parents. Both showed remarkable courage in taking
the decision as in the atmosphere of growing religiosity and extremism, in which
even baby girls are being forced to take the veil, they must have faced stiff
opposition of the obscurantists.
The school has accommodated students
beyond its physical capacity. Three of the rooms are in a poor condition and
need urgent repair work to the roofs and walls. The condition becomes precarious
when it rains. The students are sent home as it would be risky to keep them
under the run-down roofs. A section of the boundary wall needs rebuilding but
the school is strapped for funds. Educational inspectors who come on their
periodical rounds fail to notice the situation as that is what they see in all
the schools of the division.
The standard of education can be gauged from
the time and attention a teacher could give to a class of 80 students. The
number in the pre-nursery class is even more daunting at 140.
essential facilities that the school does not have are toilets for such a large
number of students including a considerable proportion of girls and six women
teachers among a staff of 11.
Though the school is unique, its problems
are not. Almost all the schools of the division in the parha likha Punjab are
faced with similar problems. Dawn
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