Low government oversight in girls primary schools

A report based on monitoring of 170 government girls’ primary schools in 95 districts across Pakistan in December 2012

ISLAMABAD, 22nd January 2013: One hundred and five of the monitored 170 government girls’ primary schools received no oversight visit by any government/elected official during September-November 2012 quarter says a Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) report.

The report released on Tuesday highlighted that of the 71 government oversight visits made to (65 of the 170) monitored schools, 31 were by Executive District Officer (EDO)/Education and one by a Member Provincial Assembly (MPA).  The rest of the 39 visits were made by other government/elected officials. Though most of these were monitoring and routine visits, the lack of certain facilities in primary schools calls for more frequent and informed oversight.

Support staff necessary for day to day functioning of schools was not available in most of the monitored 170 schools; sanitary workers were not present in 160 schools, 108 had no peon and 106 were without a security guard.

Despite absence of sanitary workers in 160 schools, classrooms of 155 were clean indicating that either alternate arrangements were made by the school administration or that the responsibility was taken up by the teachers and students themselves.

As for other facilities, classrooms of 70 schools lacked desks and benches for students while sitting arrangement for teachers was not available in classrooms of 13 schools.

Moreover, 96 schools did not have a playground for students while 135 required a staffroom for teachers.

On a positive note, 168 schools were housed in proper buildings and 157 had boundary walls. In addition, almost all the schools were providing free text books to students.

With regard to staff appointment, the occupancy rate was 92% for sanctioned teaching posts and 93% for the non-teaching ones.

Attendance in schools was also satisfactory as more than four-fifths schools had attendance of teachers and students above 76% on the day of FAFEN observer’s visit.

The average number of students-per-teacher in the monitored schools was 35- below the government set limit of 40 for primary schools. Among regions, KP had the highest number of students-per-teacher, 40, followed by Punjab (38), FATA (36) and Balochistan (32). The number was impressive in the schools monitored in Sindh where one teacher was available for every 29 students.