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Future of over 2,700 girl students in Dir at stake

TIMERGARA: Future of over 2,700 girl students from nursery to grade 10th in Lower and Upper Dir districts is at stake due to closure of the community model schools.

Sources told this correspondent that 20 community schools from primary to high level were run by Khwendo Kor (KK), an NGO, with the financial support of Development in Literacy (DIL), an organisation working on educating the underprivileged girl students since 2001 in the two districts.

They claimed that KK withdrew its services owing to the newly-introduced regulatory rules of the Economic Affairs Division, Islamabad, under which the organisation had to get fresh non-objection certificate (NOC) and sign a Memorandum of Understanding carrying ‘harder conditions’. They said that after the KK’s withdrawal it was difficult for DIL to run these schools.

20 community model schools face closure as Khwendo Kor withdraws support

The sources said that over 2,700 students, mostly girls, would be affected because of the schools’ closure this month.

KK project manager in Dir, Ibrash Pasha, told this scribe that the organisation had been asked to close its activities in community schools. However, he said the enrolled students were taking their annual examinations these days who would have to make their own arrangements for education after declaration of their results.

He said the schools’ closure would also affect the families of 145 teachers, including some principals. He said that the organisation had been providing salaries to staff and free books to the students since 2001. He said that the organisation also provided teachers’ training, additional learning resources, etc.

Mr Pasha said that the graduated students were also provided with scholarships for their higher education. About future of the schools, he said that some of the local lawmakers had been contacted with a request to hand over the schools to the Elementary Education Foundation.

Bakht Zia, a headmistress at the Community Model School at Tootko Ouch, said that she had been serving for the last 12 years. She said that 10 female teachers of her school would be left jobless if the school with 299 children was closed. She feared that girls at her school would give up education as there was no school for girls in the area.

Naushad Khan, an elder from Paloso Dag in Munda tehsil, said that 46 girls were enrolled in the 6th, 7th and 8th classes at the local community school and they would give up education as there was no middle school in the village. The community schools, according to a staffer of Khwendo Kor, were set up in remote areas where there was no government school.

Meanwhile, the parents demanded of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to take notice of the matter and make necessary arrangements for education of all the students of these model schools in Lower and Upper Dir districts.

Published in Dawn, March 21st, 2019

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