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November 1, 2018
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An unsuitable education

Editorial

November 1, 2018

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According to the Registrar Private Institutions Sindh at least 60 to 70 percent of private schools in the city of Karachi are functioning without basic facilities. Many of these institutions are located in 80-yard houses with classroom sizes averaging 6 x 8 feet. Into this cloistered space 40 to 50 students are being cramped. No air circulates in these spaces – some of which lack windows – and there is an absence of playground, canteen, library or even drinking water facilities. The classrooms are often dimly lit and the children must pore over their books for hours in these conditions. Every government, and notably the present setup in the centre, has vowed to improve educational facilities for children. Imran Khan has spoken of offering the same level of education to every child across the country. But for the present it is the most basic clause that needs to be amended. These private schools, set up in every locality in Karachi, are violating Sindh government laws which lay down certain conditions for their registration. However, the registrar has said that registration cannot be cancelled immediately as this would leave thousands of children out of school.

Primary schools everywhere and at every tier in the country are effectively extorting whatever fee they can often without providing the basic needs for education. In addition to the lack of facilities, teachers are untrained and poorly paid. The purpose of these schools is to make a profit for owners without any regard for educational standards or the welfare of their pupils. Steps need to be taken to remedy this situation, which exists not only in Karachi but also in other cities and towns across the country. While in theory laws exist to regulate private schools, they are simply not enforced. In many cases, lower-income families seeking a better education for their children by moving away from the collapsing public sector suffer worst. An immediate solution will be hard to find but for the future we need to ensure that every child in the country is able to receive an education of some value to his or her future in a setting which is conducive to learning and to safety.

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