Thursday, May 23, 2013

Education Suffers in Pakistan's FATA: Who is Responsible ?

Education in crisis: No respite for Mohmand Agency students
By Mureeb Mohmand, Express Tribune, May 23, 2013

SHABQADAR: Pakistan spends seven times more on military expenditure than on education, according to a 2012 Unesco report. It ranks 113 out of 120 countries in the Education Development Index.

It then comes as no surprise rural areas get the short end of the stick. Basic provisions such as rooms to sit in, clean water to drink and running water in toilets are not a given; students do not expect these luxuries.

An official in the education department in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa estimates around 15% of the population of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) is literate. Possibly, less than 5% of females in the tribal belt are educated.

The situation in Fata is further compounded by militancy – schools in Fata remain under constant threat. According to a news report, over 100 schools have been destroyed by militants in Mohmand Agency.

Mohmand Agency is administratively divided into eight subdivisions.

Three of these subdivisions namely, Khwaizai, Baizai and Abmar have no middle or high school for both male and female students. The bleak outcome of having few or no secondary institutions is summed up by an Annual Status of Education Report (Aser) 2012 finding – ‘For every twenty children in class one, only three are in class ten’ in Fata.

The subdivisions which do have schools suffer from a lack of basic facilities.

Around 60 educational institutes have been destroyed in Safi subdivision during militant insurgencies. Over half of the schools in Safi have been closed since June 2008. In 2011, the education department announced these schools had been reopened; however, it was only on paper.

Requesting anonymity, a high school teacher from Safi told The Express Tribune he had been receiving his salary regularly since the school ‘reopened.’

Schools in Qandhari and Gurbaz (areas in Safi) are not functioning, even if they are open, he shares. Teachers from Qandhari have been reposted to other schools but in Gurbaz, schools remain closed and teaching staff remain absent out of fear – Gurbaz is an area with the highest number of schools destroyed.

For complete article, click here

New America Foundation Survey on Education Trends in FATA - Click Here  
For Data, see FATA Education Department: click Here 
Pakistan's Fata area reports significant increase in school enrollment: Guardian

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