Under pressure: FR Peshawar’s girls schools see fewer students, teachers

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A majority of girls schools in Hassan Khel have only been partially functional over the last two years in the absence of teaching staff, residents told The Express Tribune.

Most women are reluctant—even fearful—to go teach classes even though they are residents of the area. This has adversely affected student attendance and academic activities at schools.

“In one middle school for girls, the number of students has dropped to just 190. There were initially 350 students at the school,” a local elder told The Express Tribune.

Conflict of information

“I don’t know about any school in Hassan Khel where teachers are reluctant to come to work,” said FR Peshawar assistant political agent (APA) Muhammad Arif. “However, if we receive any complaints, we will ensure action is taken against teachers.”

According to Arif, there were 11 girls schools in Bora and Asho Khel areas which were initially closed but reopened this September.

Under attack

There are 150 schools in FR Peshawar, out of which seven schools in Asho Khel, Mosa Darra and other areas were attacked by militants in 2010. Some schools were closed down in fear of retaliation from militants. These were reopened in 2013 after a large contingent of security personnel were deployed in different parts of the region.

Nevertheless, most private schools for girls have been closed due to militant threats in the region over the past two years.

However, according to Arif, a high school in Sara Dargai is being reconstructed while six others have yet to be rebuilt. Till then, makeshift arrangements have been made at nearby schools to teach students. Tents have been set up in schools in the absence of buildings to educate children, added Arif.

FR Peshawar and FR Kohat were at the forefront of women’s education until a few years ago when all girls schools were destroyed by militants in Darra Adam Khel.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 13th, 2014.