Budget analysis: FATA in need of 8,751 schools

PESHAWAR: The Federally Administered Tribal Areas require 13,407 primary and secondary government-owned schools whereas the number of existing schools stands at 4,656.

This was stated in a Fata education budget analysis report presented at a seminar in the city on Thursday. A large number of students and teachers from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Fata, civil society members and lawmakers were also present on the occasion.

The report has been put together by Alif Ailaan and the Centre for Governance and Public Accountability.

“Even if mosque and community schools are added to the list of educational institutes, the number does not go above 5,645,” stated the report. “On the other hand, Rs9.911 billion was doled out for Fata’s education sector in 2012-13, only to be increased to Rs11.212 billion by 2014-15.”

The analysis aimed to track budgetary allocations and how they have been utilised.

According to the report, Fata’s overall literacy rate stands at 33.3%.

“Almost 60% of the tribespeople are between 15 and 29 years old,” it read. “A majority of them are unskilled and not educated. At least 200 schools of the tribal areas stand destroyed, thanks to terrorist attacks.”

While the location of schools, security threats and cultural barriers were recognised as hurdles in school enrolment, the availability of trained teaching and administrative staffers was also termed crucial.

Participants from Fata stated the report only portrays a fraction of the sector’s actual state of affairs.

They said the situation in Khyber Agency, lower Kurram Agency and Frontier Regions is particularly dismal. Fata MNA Qaiser Jamal Afridi said the sector will soon see radical changes.

“We should close the chapter of militancy and move forward,” he said. Afridi said FATA University is in its final stages and that a vice chancellor will be appointed within thirty days.

His fellow lawmaker, Ayesha Gulalai, said cadet and engineering colleges will soon open doors to students in the tribal areas. K-P Minister for Finance Muzaffar Said presented the provincial government’s performance in the sector.

“Some issues take time to resolve fully. We have appointed 15,000 teachers through the National Testing Service and abolished the two-room and two-teacher system. Every government primary school in K-P will consist of a minimum of six rooms and six teachers.”