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Parties, civil society united on admission denial to students

Parties, civil society united on admission denial to students

MINGORA: Political activists, the people’s elected representatives, civil society members and youths in Swat on Saturday agreed to jointly raise voice for around 5,000 students, who were denied admission in local colleges lately.

The agreement came during an ‘All-Party Conference’ jointly organised by Alif Ailan and Innovative Youth Forum here to highlight denial of FA/FSc course admission to 4,800 students in Swat colleges and closure of Matkab schools in the district.

IYF chairman and education activist Dr Jawad Iqbal told participants that literacy rate in Swat was 29 percent only.

“There are only 433 primary schools for girls in comparison of 843 such schools for boys. Only two percent girls get education beyond the Secondary School Certificate level at colleges,” he said.

He said the condition of Swat schools was worst as 44 percent of them had no supply of drinking water, 53 percent schools no toilets and 60 percent no boundary walls, while on average, there was one teacher for 52 students.

The IYF chairman said first 93 Maktab schools were closed down in the district though there was a shortage of small schools and later, 4,800 students were denied admission to local colleges, which was an upsetting development.

He said the Government Girls Post Graduate College, Saidu Sharif, had denied admission to 1,800 girls due to unavailability of seats.

Representatives of political parties announced they stood united on the matter and would meet the chief minister for corrective measures.

MPA Syed Jafar Shah said the lapse of budgetary funds during the last fiscal was not an encouraging issue.

“No new school has been established in the province during the first two years of the PTI government. Also, 32,000 posts of primary school teachers have long been lying vacant but the government has done nothing to fill them,” he said, adding that education sector should be given adequate budgetary allocations.

ANP district president Sher Shah Khan said denial of college admission to 5,000 students and closure of Maktab schools were acts of terrorism against education.

He said the people’s elected representatives should seriously raise the issue in assemblies.

Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party leader Dr Khalid Mehmood suggested that the government ensure admission of students to privately-owned educational institutions if its schools and colleges didn’t adjust them.

PML-N activist Umar Farooq suggested imposition of education emergency in Swat to address the issue.

He said either private buildings should be rented to open colleges or high schools should be upgraded to secondary level.

None of the six MPAs from Swat, who all belongs to the ruling PTI, didn’t show up though they’re invited to the event.

However, PTI MNA Saleemur Rehman was in attendance.

Abdul Munim, special assistant to the chief minister for industry and commerce, said the provincial government had focused its attention on the development of education and health sectors.

“We, the provincial government, take education sector very seriously. We shifted primary schools from two-room buildings to six-room buildings having all basic facilities. We’ve also decided that all new primary schools will have six-room buildings with proper facilities,” he said.

The special assistant said the successive governments didn’t open schools and colleges in Swat as required by the local population.

“I will lead you all for a meeting with the chief minister on the matter. Rest assured that Maktab schools won’t be closed or merged in areas, where primary schools don’t exist, while the government will take emergency steps to address the admission denial issue,” he said.

Published in Dawn, August 16th, 2015

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