- A Report Based on the Monitoring of 109 Government Boys’ Primary Schools in March 2011
A majority of government boys’ primary schools, monitored by FAFEN during March 2011, did not have the services of sanitary and support staff. As many as 94% of monitored schools did not have a serving sanitary worker, 81% were without security guards and 70% did not have a peon. Non-teaching staff are important for providing support and assistance in the management and maintenance of schools. In the monitored 109 schools, 102 lacked a sweeper, 88 did not have a security guard, and no peon was appointed in 68 schools. Despite this lack of sweepers and peons in most of the monitored boys’ primary schools, 81% of the schools had clean classrooms.
This suggests that the responsibility of keeping the classrooms clean was taken up either by the teaching staff or transferred to the students. The non-availability of security guards was a serious safety concern in light of the prevailing law and order situation. Since Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) are particularly affected by insurgency and militancy that has been threatening schools and other educational institutes, the security arrangements in schools is a matter of prime importance.
The lack of security guards in schools suggests that insufficient care was taken of children’s safety. General facilities for students were lacking in the monitored schools. About half (49.5%) of the monitored schools lacked basic furniture, i.e. chairs and tables for students. Similarly, even though the importance of physical activities in the development of the personality of children has been globally acknowledged, 82 of the 109 monitored schools did not have a playground for the students. This unavailability of playgrounds in the government schools suggests official indifference to the physical aspects of students’ development.
Facilities for teachers were also observed to be missing in many schools. Insufficient basic furniture was found in the classrooms of more than one fourth (27%) of the monitored boys’ primary schools, while 78% of the monitored schools did not have a staff room for the teachers. Schools were also found to lack arrangements for clean drinking water. This was not available in 39% of the monitored boys’ primary schools. As children are more prone to water-borne diseases than adults, the availability of clean drinking water is a necessity rather than a facility in a primary school.
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