70% of boys’ primary schools lack non-teaching staff


More than two-thirds of the 152 boys’ primary schools in 89 districts across the country have been found having a shortage of non-teaching staff like peons, sanitary workers and security guards. According to a monitoring report issued by Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) on Monday, 82 percent of the monitored schools were found to be operating without sanitary workers, 75 percent did not have security guards, while there were no peons in 70 percent of the schools. FAFEN Governance Monitors visited 152 boys’ primary schools in 89 districts across Pakistan in September 2011. In Punjab, 79 schools were visited in 35 districts; 29 in Sindh across 19 districts, 27 in 18 districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 14, two and one school in as many districts of Balochistan, FATA and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), respectively.
However, the report added that the hygienic conditions of classrooms in 73 percent of the monitored schools were found to be satisfactory despite the unavailability of sanitary workers, suggesting the responsibility of keeping the classrooms clean had been taken up either by the teachers or the students themselves. Among the 152 schools monitored, a serious lack of transparency of information and availability of non-teaching staff was observed. As many as 82 schools failed to share information regarding the number of sanctioned posts and the appointed non-teaching staff. However, among the monitored schools in Balochistan, ICT and FATA that did provide information, all sanctioned posts for non-teaching staff were occupied. In Punjab, Sindh and KP, the occupancy rate stood comparatively lower at 86 percent, 77 percent and 96 percent respectively.
Nationwide, the report said the situation appeared to be better with respect to the teaching staff, as 144 of the schools monitored provided information on sanctioned posts and appointed teaching staff. As far as the availability of teachers was concerned, 76 percent to 100 percent of the posted teachers were present in 113 of the monitored schools. A similar level of students’ attendance was observed in 104 of the schools monitored in September 2011. The report further said that the highest number of students-per-teacher (47) was observed in schools monitored in KP – higher than the standard official limit of 40 students-per-teacher for all government-run primary schools. In the remaining regions, the number of students-per-teacher was lower than the standard official limit – 36 in Punjab, 34 in Sindh and Balochistan, 35 in FATA and 21 in ICT.
Contrary to government policy, four of the schools monitored in Balochistan, three in Punjab and one in Sindh charged students for textbooks, which were supposed to be provided free of cost. All the schools monitored in September 2011 were housed in proper buildings, except for three in Punjab and one in KP. Clean drinking water was not available in 41 of the monitored schools. Despite the importance of physical education for children, 60 percent of the 152 boys primary schools monitored nationwide did not have playgrounds.