Education woes: 551 schools in FATA, FRs devastated by militancy, floods in 2013-14

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At least 551 schools were destroyed in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and Frontier Regions (FR) in 2013-14 due to ongoing militancy and floods. This was revealed in official papers issued by the FATA Secretariat regarding the Annual Development Programme (ADP) for 2014-15.

According to documents available with The Express Tribune, 362 boys schools and 189 girls schools have been destroyed in the tribal areas.

Going under

In Bajaur Agency, 85 schools—64 of which were boys schools and 21 girls schools—have been affected. Nearly 109 schools in Mohmand Agency were destroyed by militancy and floods, out of which 81 were for boys. At least 63 schools in Khyber Agency were destroyed in 2013-14; 35 of which were boys schools and 28 girls schools.

In Orakzai Agency, 168 schools were destroyed. At least 92 of these were boys schools. In Kurram Agency, 70 schools were destroyed due to militancy and floods. Nearly 54 of these were boys schools and 16 were girls schools

The documents added that 11 schools were razed to the ground in FR Peshawar. Five of these were girls schools.

During 2013-14, at least 28 schools were destroyed in FR Kohat. Out of these, half were girls schools. Five boys schools in FR Bannu, a boys school and girls schools in FR Lakki, nine boys schools in South Waziristan and another boys school in FR-Tank have also been affected.

Not nearly enough

According to the documents, only 85 educational institutions have been constructed so far in the region. Moreover, 152 schools are under construction and 229 remain non-functional.

According to another document issued by the FATA Secretariat, over Rs3 billion has been allocated for education in the ADP for 2014-15. It revealed Rs2 billion would be spent on 91 ongoing schemes proposed through the ADP whereas Rs1 billion would be set aside for the completion of 59 new projects.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, FATA Secretariat spokesperson Fazlullah said educational institutions in the tribal areas have faced increasing pressure as compared to other departments. As a result, the education sector has been given priority in the ADP for 2014-2015, he added.

According to Fazlullah, Governor Mehtab Abbasi has issued special directives to give priority to the education sector in the budget and reconstruct the schools destroyed in Fata. A large number of schools are being constructed and special emphasis has been placed on the education of girls, he added.

The FATA Secretariat spokesperson said construction work has stopped in some areas due to militancy. However, he insisted that work will resume once the situation is under control.

An abysmal state

A FATA Education Atlas 2011-12 report released by the FATA Directorate of Education, Education Management Information System has provided key facts and figures on the education of girls in Fata.

According to the report, 124,424 girls were enrolled in 1,551 primary schools. Nearly 19,614 girls were enrolled in 158 middle schools. The report added 13,837 girls were enrolled in 42 high schools whereas 1,134 girls have been enrolled in five higher secondary schools in Fata.

The proportion of girls enrolled in schools stands at 7.5% in South Waziristan, 4.26% in North Waziristan, 21.03% in Kurram Agency, 4.75% in Bajaur, 5.72% in Mohmand Agency. In Orakzai Agency and Khyber Agency, the proportion of girls enrolled at schools stands at 5.15% and 16.13%, respectively.

Similarly, the proportion stands at 5.88% in FR DI Khan, 1.81% in FR Lakki Marwat, 2.28% in FR Tank, 1.07% in FR-Bannu, 24.09% in FR Kohat and 16.66% in FR Peshawar.