PESHAWAR: Official data has confirmed that 812 schools in different parts of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) are non-functional due to different reasons. Whereas, 44 schools have been completely closed down in the tribal regions, Pakistan Today has learnt.
According to available data, a maximum of 346 schools were found to be non-functional in South Waziristan, including 202 for boys and 144 for girls. In addition, around 106 schools in North Waziristan, 84 in Mohmand Agency, 106 in Orakzai, 52 in Khyber Agency, and 38 schools in Kurram Agency, were non-functional.
When contacted, an official from FATA Education Directorate said that due to displacement of tribal population and terrorism-related incidents these schools were rendered useless. He further said that more than 1,000 schools were reconstructed and made functional after the government allowed repatriation of internally displaced people (IDP) to their native areas. Among these, most schools have been reconstructed in Mohmand and Bajaur agencies under the government’s reconstruction efforts, he added.
However, an active member of the civil society named Manzoor Afridi told this scribe that there was a lack of teachers and facilities like clean drinking water, electricity, drainage and sanitation in FATA schools. He said that these were the primary reasons which led to the closure of so many schools, while adding that militant attacks on schools also destroyed many educatinla institutions.
It merits mention here that a large number of tribesmen who abandoned their homes in October 2009 after the start of military operation (Rah-i-Nijat) against militants, later found refuge as IDPs in Tank, Dera Ismail Khan and other parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Though many tribesmen were still reluctant to return home due to unavailability of basic facilities and slow reconstruction efforts, almost all IDPs from South Waziristan have already been de-notified.
Nonetheless, due to ongoing military operation (Zarb-i-Azb), that began in June 2014, government functions such as health, education and sanitation have still not resumed routine operations all over North Waziristan. Therefore, it does not come as a surprise that most non-functional government schools are also situated in North and South Waziristan agencies.