Syed Hasnain Gardezi
ISLAMABAD, Jul 14 (APP):It may not be disgraceful for the quarters concerned but it would be of utmost surprise for commoners that a village’s generation in the federal capital has grown up without a primary school, undermining successive governments’ claim of “Education For All”.
“The only early childhood educational facility in Mangyal village, situated between Shahdara and Bhara Kahu, was closed down and shifted to Nai Abadi, Kot Hathial, Bhara Kahu in 2004, due to the scheming duos of sole school teacher and the then Area Education Officer for their personal convenience and benefits,” residents blamed.
Chairman Union Council Malpur, Chaudhry Mushtaq said, ” The closure of the school was mechanized by teacher Faiz Ahmed who gradually struck off names of the students to make it a case and successfully maneuvered shifting of institution to his own home town, Kot Hathial.”
The new location has more than twelve kilometers walking distance from the locality, impracticable for primary school age children to travel, one sided, more than two hours daily, he added.
The boys and girls primary school, established half a century ago, had a tough access due to its location in isolated hilly off road terrain and the exclusive teacher used to come at 11 o’clock and slunk off at 12 o’clock, he said.The residents had launched complaints to the authorities concerned against his carefree approach, “So he machinated the entire move of the facility’s transfer to his own home town, he asserted.
Mushtaq, stressing the restoration of school, said some 35 boys and girls were being imparted education at the time of closure some 15 years ago and now the deprived generation was in their twenties, seeing the future of their children at stake as well.
“The population of the town has tripled now and the number of children attaining the school going age has increased many folds and it’s not time to discuss how and why it was closed.”The underprivileged population of the locality cannot afford to send their children to the city, he added.
Showing a set of applications written to different authorities frequently by the locals for the rehabilitation of the only discipline, an inhabitant of Mangyal, Chaudhry Sheraz, said, “We have not lost the battle and the actual building of the school is still kept dedicated even after fifteen years of its inactivity.”
Negating the Education Department’s statement that the facility was built on occupied land, a local Qadeer Ahmed said Mangyal was the only village in Margalla hills terrain never been acquired by the Capital Development Authority and residents were legal owners of the land.
“The land for school was donated by the people and the accommodation and three times food was also being offered to the staff to keep this only educating service in the area functional,” he claimed.
“There is no school in a less than two hours walking distance from the area for too young children and the authorities concerned failed to provide even one teacher to keep the decades old” community assisted” facility running,” he regretted.
The Director Schools, Saqib Shahab, not familiar with the issue and exact location of the closed down institution, said, “I am new in the affairs and the move of closure and shifting was not made on my watch.”
However, on sharing details, he said he was ready to conduct the survey of the locality to address villagers’ plea and it can be restored if their concerns were genuine.
Shahab said the shifted school was being run in a rented building in Kot Hathial, Bhara Kahu and the department has almost completed its own building for which furniture has also been purchased. Soon the new facility, he said would be made functional as the densely populated area was in dire need of it which was upgraded to the matriculation now. However, the residents of Mangyal welcoming this move said it would not serve their cause and demanded the restoration of school in their native town, Old Mangyal, closed down in 2004.