Thousands of children, both male and female, have been deprived of their right to education with the closure of over 1,400 schools across Federally Administrative Tribal Areas (FATA).
According to FATA Secretariat, 476 schools had been destroyed by militants since 2006. Amongst these schools, 252 were girls’ schools and 224 boys’ schools, thus depriving more than 150,000 students of education.
The data revealed that a majority of these schools destroyed by militants are in Bajaur, Mohmand, Khyber Agency, Aurakzai and Frontier Region of Kohat known as Dara Adam Khel. Comparatively lesser number of schools were destroyed by militants in both North and South Waziristan agencies. Almost all schools in the narrow tribal strip of Dara Adam Khel were destroyed by militants with explosive materials.
Beside destruction of schools, the official data revealed that over 1,000 schools in all seven tribal agencies and six frontier regions were closed or nonfunctional across FATA. Some of these schools are under occupation by security forces whereas some them are in use by militants. Moreover, certain schools in South and North Waziristan, Aurakzai, Kurram and Khyber Agencies are also under occupation by militants. In all these occupied schools, the militants have established positions for foiling attacks.
The official from the FATA Secretariat confirmed that thousands of children whose families had abandoned their homes in tribal areas and shifted to safe places had gotten admissions in educational institutions in Peshawar, Dera Ismail Khan, Kohat, Bannu, Mardan and Nowshehra. A reasonable number of children who belong to affluent families are getting education in Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Abbottabad schools. However, more than 70 percent of tribal children belonging to poor families have been deprived of education.
An official from the education sector of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa confirmed that there was a lot of pressure on local institutions in Peshawar and other main cities. He said now that admissions were in progress at intermediate and degree levels, the authorities were giving preference to local domicile holders. However, he said that children with higher marks also had the right to get admission based on merit, which was causing problems to children from the local population.