State-run girls’ schools paint a bleak picture

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A report released by an NGO ‘FAFEN’s Education Institution Monitor’ here on Wednesday figured out that 45 percent of the government’s girls’ primary schools were not ensuring clean drinking water. This was against legal requirements, which make provision of clean drinking water at all state run educational institutes mandatory. Statistics disclosed that 35 out of the 78 monitored schools i.e. eight in Punjab, 11 in Sindh, 12 in KP and four in Balochistan have been found violating the legal requirements. Thirty-one, nineteen, twenty six and four schools were monitored in Punjab, KP, Sindh and Balochistan respectively.
The report found out that girls were at a risk of dehydration due to the unavailability of clean drinking water. The monitored schools also lacked support and sanitation staff, essential for maintaining cleanliness at school. 50 percent of the schools did not have a peon while 88 percent lacked a serving sanitary worker. Though the support and sanitation staff was insufficient at most of the monitored schools, class rooms of 85 percent of the schools were found clean. It was a possibility that in absence of non-teaching staff, responsibility of classroom cleanliness was taken up either by students or by teachers themselves.
Despite the law and order crisis and a consistent threat to girls’ educational institutes by militants and other extremist forces, only 27 percent of the 78 monitored government girls’ primary schools had a security guard. Twenty one schools monitored in Punjab, 18 in KP, 14 in Sindh and the four monitored in Balochistan did not have security guards. With areas like KP and Balochistan affected by militancy and insurgency, the security of educational institutes should have been of prime importance for the government.
Facilities for students and teachers were also insufficient as half of the monitored schools did not have chairs and tables for students, while 20 percent lacked furniture for teachers. In addition, 55 percent of the monitored schools did not have playgrounds, while staff rooms were available for female teachers in only 24 percent of these schools. However, facilities like electricity connections and fans were provided in over 70 percent of the monitored schools, while 95 percent had black/white boards facility. Moreover, almost all schools were observed to be housed in proper buildings.
The highest number of students per teacher ratio was observed in KP where, on average, one teacher was responsible for a class of 43 students. The lowest student-teacher ratio of 31:1 was observed in Balochistan. The average student-teacher ratio stood at 37:1 and 34:1 in Punjab and Sindh respectively.