Pakistan flood damaged 10,000 schools

Floods hit more than 10,000 schools, says UN
Islamabad, Sept 23: Pakistan's flood crisis has damaged more than 10,000 schools, affecting several million pupils and requiring massive investment in the education sector, the UN said on Wednesday.

"Five to six per cent of all schools have been damaged by the floods. This means that between 1.5 to 2.5 million students have been affected," Umar Amal, an official with Unesco, told a news conference.

"That number can rise and it will rise," he said, unable to estimate how much it would cost to repair the damaged infrastructure.

Mr Amal said more than 9,780 government schools were damaged 2,700 fully and 7,000 partially.

The number of private schools affected a statistic not yet available would push the figure beyond 10,000, he said.

The UN Children's Fund has said over 10 million children have been affected by the flooding, including 2.8 million under five-year-olds.

Primary school enrolment in Pakistan is around 57 per cent and government expenditure on education accounts for just 2.1 per cent of Gross Domestic Product.

The overall adult literacy rate is 57 per cent and Pakistan has three years to meet a Millennium Development Goal target of 88 per cent.But many of the flood-affected areas have far worse rates for example in rural parts of Balochistan female literacy can be as low as seven per cent, Mr Amal said.

"Already before the floods, they were lagging behind... If 9,000 schools are partially damaged and 2,000 schools fully damaged you need a huge investment in education to re-activate it," he warned.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said a further 5,563 schools are still being used to shelter about 567,000 people displaced in the crisis. Afp

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Schools in rural Islamabad in pathetic condition
Islamabad: Ayesha, a class 5 student, studies in a crammed makeshift shed with tens of other children sitting shoulder-to-shoulder on mats on the ground.

Her school, Federal Government Girls' Primary School Khanna Nai Abadi, is a poorly maintained rented building donated by a philanthropist resident in the 1970s with only two rooms and no furniture, playground facilities and drinking water.

This picture of neglect characterises most other public schools in the suburbs of Islamabad which are run under the direct supervision of the federal government.

Of the two rooms in Ayesha's school, one is for the staff and records leaving only one other room for its 220 students.

The room for the students is actually an open courtyard which has been converted into four small sheds for separate classes. And this was done not by the federal education authorities but by donations from staff and other charitable sources.

The sheds are sheltered or covered overhead with fibre sheets.

The students are exposed to the extremes in weather conditions during summer and winter under fibre sheets.

F.G. Boys' Primary School Khanna Kak is another school in the suburbs of Islamabad whose premises in a rented building of two rooms is also grossly inadequate for its 200 students.

As a result, the building's corridor and terrace have had to be converted into classrooms.

A senior teacher of the school said they had made several complaints to the authorities regarding upgrading of building and facilities but their appeals have fallen on deaf ears. He criticised the education ministry officials for neglecting the schools situated in the far-flung areas of the capital city.

Other schools in the suburbs of Islamabad which are facing similar problems include F.G. Primary School Shakrial, F.G. Girls' Middle School Khana Dak, F.G. Primary School Kot Hathial Qaziabad, F.G. Boys' Primary School Pind Malkan and F.G. Boys Primary School Munghial.

Another teacher and resident of Shakrial, Mohammad Altaf, had this to say about the government's education policies: "The poor policies, lack of interest, class difference and lack of funds in the education sector are all very alarming. They could destroy the education structure."

"Are these schools not under the supervision of the Federal Directorate of Education? Why are these students being deprived of basic facilities," he asked.

The response of the Federal Directorate of Education spokesperson, Ashrif Nadeem, is the following: "A huge amount is required to acquire land and build buildings for these schools. It is not possible under these circumstances when the government has reduced funding for development."

If funding is not forthcoming soon, students like Ayesha may not even have a school to go to at all.

According to a senior teacher in Ayesha's school, the person who had donated the building for her school has passed away and his heirs are pressurising the school administration to vacate the building.

So far, the authorities have not been looking for an alternative building for Ayesha's school. Dawn

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FDE cancels teachers' interviews due to floods
Islamabad: Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) has cancelled the walk-in interviews of teaching staff scheduled to be held from September 25 to October 04 due to prevailing flood situation in the country.

The interviews were advertised on 08-08-2010 through advertisement no F.1-1/2010(SA)FDE for appointment of 226 teachers in different cadres of teaching staff in federal government schools.

An official of FDE told APP that the candidates are intimated not to report on designated centers for interviews.

The posts were announced for the Physical Instructors, Drawing, Matric Trained and Under-Graduate Trained Teachers from all the provinces including FATA, Northern Areas and Azad Jammu Kashmir. app

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UK varsity team visits Iqra University
Islamabad: A two-member delegation of Bedfordshire University of United Kingdom visited Iqra University, and inaugurated a two-day book exhibition here on Tuesday.

The delegation was headed by Vice Chancellor of Bedfordshire University, Professor Eldon included Deputy Vice Chancellor Bedfordshire University Professor Ashraf Jawaid.

Dr Jamil Ahmed, dean of Iqra University along with Pro-Chancellor Misbullah Khan and Director Academics Arif Khattak welcomed the delegation.

After inaugurating the book exhibition, Professor Eldon appreciated the education quality and other facilities being provided to the students by Iqra University. He said Iqra University graduates who joined the Bedfordshire University for further studies were exceptional. Strengthening the existing collaboration in both the universities in research, faculty development and student exchange would grow further.

Speaking at the occasion Dr. Jamil Ahmed said by strengthening the collaboration between the two universities would provide the young generation more and more opportunities to learn. He deeply briefed the delegation about university achievement and goals and also told them about facilities being given to the students and faculty as well. Dr. Jamil highlighted the research and development work being carried out at the Iqra University.

Misbullah Khan presented the delegation a souvenir. Earlier, Director Academics briefed the delegation about CMC and new projects carried out by the university.

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HU staff stage rally
Mansehra: The teaching and other staff of the Hazara University (HU) Wednesday staged a rally against cut in financial assistance to the public sector universities by the Higher Education Commission. The rally attended by heads and members of faculties and other staff was held at the university campus. The participants were holding banners and placards inscribed with their demands. Professor Habib, Professor Muqarrab Shah and others in their speeches said the government was not taking higher education seriously and this was the reason that the financial allocations to the public sector universities were slashed.

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Students protest lack of teachers
Mingora: The students of the Kabal Degree College staged protest against the provincial government Wednesday for not appointing teachers at the college. The protesting students were chanting slogans against the provincial government. Addressing the students, the speakers said their precious time was being wasted due to shortage of teachers at the college. They added that the government was yet to reconstruct the destroyed hostel at the college. Coming down hard on the elected public representatives from the area, the students said that they were not paying attention to solving their problems. The news

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