Sindh’s 75 percent children school-less: survey


Last year’s devastating monsoon rains in Sindh and the following floods completely damaged 1,342 government schools in the southern districts of the province, while 2,638 schools were partially damaged, revealed a report issued on Tuesday by the People’s Accountability Commission on Floods (PACF) – a collaborative venture of several civil society organisations.
The floods that devastated standing crops and inundated vast areas, displaced more than 90 million people as per official figures, besides badly affecting road infrastructure, heritage sites and religious places.
It was stated in the report that during the “super floods” of 2010, around 8,000 government schools were damaged and despite the passage of more than 18 months, the government has not renovated the schools so far.
“In 2011, devastating rains and breaches in the Left Bank Outfall Drain damaged more schools in an already precarious condition, almost halting the educational process in the most backward areas of the province,” the PACF observed in the report.
The PACF recommended renovation of schools damaged in the flood-hit districts of Sindh to ensure that the displaced children remain in schools.
“In Sindh, around 75 percent school-going children are now out of schools. The children have been deprived of education as schools have not been renovated or repaired by the government, nor any viable arrangements made for students to continue their education.”
The government could not achieve its target of imparting education to 388,509 students who were affected due to the 2010 floods and could provide educational facilities to only 29 percent of students. “It is of grave concern to the civil society that only 10 percent schools have been rehabilitated out of 10,348.”
The government authorities could not allocate the specified budget during flash appeal 2011 for uplifting the school damaged during rains and floods in 2011 in the lower districts of Sindh. Due its slow response, the government could not meet the required targets and 54 percent of children were deprived of education as well as basic food and health facilities.
The report revealed that government response during the floods of 2010 and 2011 was very unsatisfactory to cope with challenges faced by flood-affected communities. The floods and rains badly damaged the infrastructure of the education sector in the affected districts, there was 70 percent loss of learning material in schools and the drop out ratio is 20 percent.
The PACF said that the children between the ages of five and 17, especially girls, dropped out of schools. Around 38 percent boys and girls have dropped out in the flood-affected districts of Mirpurkhas, Sanghar, Umerkot , Tando Allahyar , Tando Mohammad Khan , Shaheed Benazirabad and Tharparkar.
The flood-affected communities complained that they are not sending their children to schools, because they are closed, the roads are destroyed, schools are being used as shelters and teachers are absent.
The PACF recommended that water should be drained from the affected districts of the Sindh.
Around 1,972 kilometres of land is still under water in Badin, Sanghar, Umerkot and Mirpurkhas.
The PACF recommended that the government should set up temporary learning centres in the areas where infrastructure is completely destroyed.
“Parent-teacher committees and school management committees should be reactivated and strengthened. Participatory approach by involving the community in the process of flood response can guarantee sustainability of structure and self-reliance.”