PESHAWAR: The Elementary Education Foundation (EEF) has completed arrangements for opening 300 more community girls schools from the upcoming academic year commencing from April, according to sources.

With the establishment of 300 more community girls’ schools, their number would reach 1,550 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the sources said, adding that 1,250 such schools were already established by EEF.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa needs thousands of primary schools, particularly for girls, to enroll the out-of-school children as currently around 1.5 million children were out of school.

The need for thousands of primary schools and the construction of new schools at the snail’s pace has prompted the provincial government to immediately establish community schools as a stopgap arrangement to enroll maximum number of out-of-school children, officials in the Elementary and Secondary Education Department said.

They said that the provincial government had allocated Rs1 billion in the 2014-15 budget to be spent over three years on 1,000 community-based girls schools, while Rs450 million would be spent on operating the 300 new schools.

The sources said that the sole purpose of these schools was to provide education facilities to the children in areas near their homes. Like previous year in which 1,000 community girls schools were established, 300 more such schools would be established on need basis in the areas where the government has so far failed to construct any primary school, the sources said.

They said that a community school would be established in areas where there was no government school in one kilometres radius.

The sources said that the number of out-of-school children would be high in the areas where no government primary schools existed. However, the number of out-of-school children further increased in such areas when the parents couldn’t afford to admit their children to the private schools, if available, they said.

The officials said that the presence of 30 children would be necessary in the respective area for establishment of a school. The local community would provide two rooms and drinking water for establishing a school.

The establishment of the school is also linked with the availability of an intermediate pass female teacher who would be paid Rs12,000 a month by the government, they said, adding a second female teacher could be hired if the number of enrolled students reached 50.

Under the project, the government has been providing free textbooks to the enrolled students and bearing the expenses for the class consumable items, including writing boards, jute mate, chalks, etc.

The establishment of community school would also help in minimising the gender disparity as the governments in past had given more attention to construction of the boys’ schools.

The sources said that the construction of regular primary schools took two to three years to complete. If the government wants to construct 300 regular primary schools it would take around three years, while 300 community schools will take a few weeks to establish.

The sources said that the construction of a six-room primary school cost over Rs12 million on the condition that land for the school was provided free of cost by the philanthropist or the respective school was constructed on the government land.

By Mohammad Ashfaq Published in Dawn

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