In Baghlan province, tottering structures pass for schools
PUL-I-KHUMRI (Pajhwok): Nearly 50 percent of schools in northern Baghlan province lack buildings and students have to study in old structures, under tents and in rented houses.
The problems are more acute in remote districts, forcing the provincial education department to let students stay at home in hot and cold weather conditions.
The Bala-i-Barfak Secondary School of Tala-o-Barfak district is one of the many schools faced with a host of problems. Around 500 students including girls are enrolled in the school.
Baz Mohammad, a teacher at the school, told Pajhwok Afghan News that the school had only a boundary wall. Students were taught under tents, he confirmed, saying there was not even a single classroom.
“We let students go home in case of rain or hot weather, because we have no proper place for teaching them,” he said, adding most of the pupils came from remote areas.
However, education department spokesman Abdul Bashir Arian said the Ministry of Education had promised to reconstruct buildings for 31 schools in Tala-o-Barfak, Khost, Barka and Doshi districts next year.
According to him, there are 520 schools across Baghlan province but 260 of them do not have buildings. Students there had to study in rental houses, under tents or in the open, he admitted.
Some of the school buildings are tottering, with students fearing they may collapse. For instance, the Bibi Hawa High School in Pul-i-Khumri, the provincial capital, a mud structure built three decades ago.
Malalai Rasuli, a teacher, said some rooms of the classrooms were really in bad shape, where students remained in fear. She complained the number of classrooms was not enough as some of 700 students had to sit under tents.
Twelfth grader Shekiba grumbled: “Our school has been in a state of neglect for four years now. All its walls and doors are crumbling.” The problem has been shared with the officials concerned, but there has been no positive response from them.
Newly-appointed Baghlan Governor Abdul Sattar Barez also slammed the Ministry of Education for its negligence. He confirmed most of students were taught in the open or in schools without windows and doors.
“I visited a number of schools in Pul-i-Khumri on Tuesday and found their buildings in poor condition,” he said, explaining the Bibi Hawa High School was located only 500 metres from the education department.
But the department spokesman said they had discussed the issue repeatedly with the Ministry of Education, which had promised to reconstruct eight school buildings, including the Bibi Hawa High School.
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