38% Boys High Schools Lack Libraries, Playgrounds

ISLAMABAD: As many as 38% government boys high schools do not have a library, 40% lack playgrounds and 42% do not have security guards, according to FAFEN’s monitoring of state-run boys high schools across the country during January 2011. The government needs to resolve infrastructural issues and ensure the availability of key facilities in order to improve standards of secondary education in the country, says FAFEN’s Education Institution Monitor released here Monday.

FAFEN Governance monitors visited 50 government boys high schools in 41 districts of the country. Twenty-two schools were visited in 19 districts of Punjab, 14 in 11 districts of KP, 12 in nine districts of Sindh and one each in a district of ICT and Balochistan.

Thirty-eight percent of the monitored schools did not have a library including 58% of those monitored in Sindh, 36% in Punjab, 21% in KP and the one school monitored in Balochistan. For high school students, the availability of a library is a must as it not only stimulates independent reading and aids in research but also exposes the students to material other than textbooks.

Little attention is paid to sports and physical activities at boys high schools as 40% were observed to be without playgrounds – 58% in Sindh, 43% in KP, 27% in Punjab and the one school monitored in ICT. Twenty-six percent of the country’s monitored schools also lacked a serving Physical Training Instructor (PTI).  In addition to health benefits, physical activity contributes in promoting discipline and social skills amongst students.

Unavailability of clean drinking water was yet another issue as 50% of the monitored schools of Sindh, 29% of those in KP and the one high school monitored in ICT lacked this arrangement.

In 18% of the schools monitored nationwide, basic furniture (chairs and tables) was not available for teachers. Likewise, in 16%, desks and chairs for students were not provided. Furthermore, apparatus for biology, chemistry and physics experiments were absent in 22%, 18% and 12% of the monitored boys’ high schools, respectively. At secondary level, laboratory equipment is necessary to facilitate students in preparation for practical examinations.

Security guards were not present in 42% of the 50 government boys high schools, monitored by FAFEN during January 2011. Given the current security situation, the absence of security guards is a cause for concern and requires adequate measures to ensure the security of both teachers and students.

In spite of issues pertaining to physical infrastructure, security and basic facilities, student and teacher attendance at government boys high schools remained high, ranging between 76% and 100% in the majority of the 50 monitored schools. As many as 1,459 teachers were posted to teach 37,612 students in these schools where on average, one teacher was responsible to teach 26 students.

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