<![CDATA[By Zulfiqar Ahmad ISLAMABAD, March 25: It seems that after failing to make any impact as regard to quality education, the Aga Khan Education Service (AKES) has made up its mind to wind up or at least limit its operation in Chitral. However, it cannot be ascertained if the decision to close down selected schools in remote areas, where students have no access to educational institutions run even by government education department, has been taken or even approved by the top management of the AKES based in Karachi. Local people informed ChitralToday that Mir Zaman Shah, the general manager (GM) of AKES Chitral, had started shutting down girls schools in different parts of Chitral, especially in upper areas, for reasons best known to him. It may be noted taht there are over 55 AKES and community-based schools for girls in Chitral. They residents said that four schools for girls were shut down last year while the AKES GM was planning to put lock on another four institutions this year. Among the four is the girls’ primary school in the Khuz village, they added. The people of the Khuz village confirmed that they had been informed by a Mastuj-based representative of the AKES not to give admission to girls this year. This has sent shockwaves among the people of the village. The AKES girls’ primary school was established in Khuz about 15 years back. The village is situated in a remote landlocked area on the right bank of the river Yarkhun. The closure of the lone girls’ school Khuz will certainly deprive the little girls of education in the 21st centaury as they cannot go to Brep at a distance of 14km or Chuinj/Chapari situated about 16km away from the village across the river. Above all, there have been seven to eight cases in which senior school girls lost their lives while crossing difficult terrains and the suspension bridges over the Yarkhun river while commuting from the village. The people of the area have expressed grave concern over the silence of the government as well the top AKES management in Karachi, saying if the AKES manager was not reined in, the little girls will be deprived of basic education – what a way to achieve the millennium development goals of which education is the top most priority. They said that the general manager was having some management problems with the teachers of AKES schools regarding increase in salaries and after losing all hopes to satisfy the teachers, he had resorted to locking the schools. Meanwhile, people belonging to both the Sunni and Ismaili communities held a meeting in Booni regional council and passed a unanimous resolution against the general manager for his decision to shut the girls’ primary school Khuz. In the resolution, they called upon the top management of the AKES as well as the provincial government to take strict action against the general manager AKES Chitral who instead of encouraging girls’ education was hell-bent on closing the schools. When contacted, the GM AKES Chitral could not come up with any logical answer except putting the blame on the regional council of upper Chitral. He had nothing to say in his defence except asking this reporter to contact the regional council, an honorary set-up having no role in the administrative matters of AKES. But when pressed, he confirmed that he was going to convey to the area people in writing that the AKES primary school in Khuz should stop further admissions – a move to pave the way for automatically shutting down the school by bringing down the required strength of girls’ students. ]]>
7 Replies to “Anti-education move: AKES sarts shutting down girls' schools in Chitral”
Tamam upper Chitral k khush qismat logoon ko maray taraf say eik bar pher Mubarak.. K MPA Shah muhtaram eik azeem leader ore haqu wa batil may faraq karnay wala aham shaksiyat hay..Insha’Allah upper Chitral mai tabdili ayeegi mustaqbil mai..Haq agaya batil met gaya.. MPA Sardar Hussain zindabad–Zulfiqar Ali Parimali Parkusab.
Mai bazaday khud qaum parast or Mazhabi taghassup krny wala banda nahi hun..Mara qaum woh hay jo puray elaqay kay khair kha ho..Mazhab woh hay jo logon my aman peida kray..MPA muhtaram shah sahib say pura qaum barusa rakti hy kay alaqay ma zaroor tabdili nazar aye gi..Shah sahib our chief sahib donoon es post ky ahal thay..Jes may insaf ho woh ahal hay jo bhi ho, Haq ko wazakh kar kay deykhawo shah sab, batil zaroor mit jaiyah gi.. Haq zindabad batil murdabad, shah sahib zindabad..Zulfiqar Ali parimali Mastuj
Hold your horses, dear Mr. Sajid Mansur & Mr. Sher Muhammad!
Is it really matter whether the lady lives in Chitral, England, USA or FATA? I think we should focus on what she is saying rather than where she is living.
Ambareen says, ‘Although it is very important to voice our opinion regarding any issue in our society, but we must be careful with our words.’ She further writes, ‘In a nutshell, it is important that we give our opinion about something, but it is not right to sensationalize such issues, for good journalism is to give information not judgment.’
Now I ask you, what is wrong with these statements? Should it not be the voice of every sane, educated & civilized person? How on earth this seems to you a ‘vested interest’, pleasing the masters or may be a ‘beruni sazish’. In one way you, the self-proclaimed champions of female education are very upset about girl’s education, but in the same breath, you are bashing an educated lady for no reason! What an extreme duplicity and biasness it is! Interestingly enough, one supports the other in doing so. You should know that 0+0=0! So, unless you come up with some logical points your support is not going to make any difference.
I support Ambareen! Don’t say I am trying to please her/anybody, or there is some vested interests. I do not know who the lady is, but I endorse her every word on the following grounds:
AKES’P and its parent organization have a long history of imparting education in the region. More than 100 years ago, under the guidance of Sir Sultan Mohamed Shah, Aga Khan III, the first set of schools were established in 1905/1909, in Mundra (district Kutch, Gujarat, India), Gwadar (current Pakistan) and Zanzibar (semi-autonomous part of Tanzania). To educate the marginalized section of the society, particularly the girls, scores of Diamond Jubilee (DJ) Schools were build in different part of Asia and Africa including the Northern areas, in 1946. The present form of AKES’P was established in 1986; since then we have seen a large number of girl’s schools established in less privileged & far-flung areas of district Chitral. The noble mission of spreading knowledge and building schools continues in the form of the prestigious higher secondary schools and the Aga Khan academies around the globe, including Pakistan.
We were all proud recently, when the GOC, Maj-General Akhtar Jamil Rao remarked, “High literacy rate among women makes Chitral unique.” But we hardly think how this milestone was achieved, after all! For instance, I take the example of Garam Chashma and surrounding areas as a sample. Let us assume for a moment that there were no AKES’ girls (high) schools in Ovirk, Arkari, Royee, Uchu, Shah and Beshgram. Then we would have been living literally in the dark ages in terms of girl’s education. If we extend the assumption to all the existing AKES’ primary & middle schools, then it would show a more gloomy and depressing picture. Today, thanks to the AKES’P and other AKDN institutions we are at par with the urban cities of Pakistan in terms of female education.
After having said that, I am stunned to see the audacity of my friends who are so casual while writing “AKES anti-education move”, “shameful act of AKES” “misogynist AKES GM” and what not. Keep in mind; you are talking about the noble institution, AKES’P, which uses the word IQRA as its symbol rather its mission. I am sorry to say it, but you should be ashamed of your thankless and reckless comments/attitudes towards the benevolent organization to which we, the Chitralis, owe allot. In Khowar, there is a famous proverb: Machuriyo Khidmat Angartu Zohch!
I wonder why we are so arrogant while talking about AKDN institutions. Why we always take them for granted? On what capacity or moral grounds we are pressing the AKES’P to build more school for us. What if there was no AKDN/AKES’P?
By the way, if we are not the citizen of Pakistan? Is it not the constitutional responsibility of the state to ensure the fulfillment of the basic rights, including education to its citizens? Have you ever read the Article 25-A of our constitution, which reads, “The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to sixteen years”. It is better you demand your basic rights from the state, and the provincial government of KPK, rather bashing the AKES’P and its officer bearers.
Interestingly the incumbent AKES Chitral GM, Mir Zaman Shah, has been bluntly criticized for his being ‘misogynist’, ‘incompetent’ and blah, blah, blah. Although we have no formal face to face meeting ever, but I know him since my school days as a brilliant teacher when he used to teach at AKGHS Ovirk. He holds a master degree from the University of Karachi. Moreover, he has graduated in Master of Education (Educational Leadership and Management) with distinction, from the prestigious Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) Melbourne, Australia. Mir Zaman Shah, who hails from a remote area, has attained the coveted position mainly based on his sheer hard work, commitment and competence. By the way, how do you define the words, misogynist & competency?
Last but not least, for the common good of the readers and particularly the aspiring journalists I would like to borrow a few lines about the universal set of ethical standard for journalists—objectivity, fairness & impartiality.
“Objectivity means, not forcing your own personal opinions on the news.” “Impartiality, which is not taking sides on an issue where there is a dispute. Impartiality also includes presenting all sides of an argument fairly, what we call balance.” Moreover, good reporters make no assumptions. A good reporter is one that writes a story in such a way that the reader cannot tell the position of the reporter.”
In fact, I do appreciate the usual bold stance of this journalist against those, who misuse the authority and abuse the power. However, I could not digest the obvious biased approach in this report, at least. Let me reproduce excerpts from two reports filed by the same journalist.
March 25: It seems that after failing to make any impact as regard to quality education, the Aga Khan Education Service (AKES) has made up its mind to wind up or at least limit its operation in Chitral. Local people informed ChitralToday that Mir Zaman Shah, the general manager (GM) of AKES Chitral, had started shutting down girls schools in different parts of Chitral, especially in upper areas, for reasons best known to him.”
March 27: Mir Zaman Shah, the general manager AKES Chitral, was on his way to Yarkhun valley to inaugurate two primary schools at Chapari and Miragram II.”
Summary: the closure of a primary school in one place, Khuz village, but opening two primary schools in two other places—Chapari and Miragram II. In what sense you concluded it as an anti-education move, or the winding-up/limiting the operations of the AKES, by the way.
Aap hi apni adaoon pe zara ghor karain,
Hum agr arz karain gay to shikayat ho gi
Nisar Ahmad Shah
Very well replied by Mr. Nisar Ahmad Shah. I think every Chitrali who knows the importance and the impact of AKDN on our quality of life will reply in the same way.
I also support Mr. Sher Muhammad. The letter is just ‘Her Master’s voice’ where the shameful act of AKESP has been eulogized for shutting a girl’s school. I ask my aunty Ambareen that what is the difference between Taliban and AKES GM (in Chitral) as one of them bombed the girls schools to close it down and the other typed and signed a letter to do the same horrendous job. Hates off to both of them.
It seems the lady has been living in England, Canada or some other European countries throughout her life. But the way she has tried to present her views in a typical style shows that she comes from some backward areas like tribal areas of Pakistan. I would like to invite her to visit Khuzh village and meet with the mothers who have lost their daughters and I am sure she would realize how painful it is to lose a daughter. I also smell some vested interest behind the letter written by the lady otherwise a sane person would never support such a step and that too involving anti girls education move by AKES. Don’t whom these aunties wants to please by writing such pieces.
Although it is very important to voice our opinion regarding any issue in our society, but we must be careful with our words. AKES is an organization that has served the people of chitral to its full capacity. Now if it is withdrawing its services from certain areas, we should not bash it with words like “anti-education move” etc. During a time when our own government failed to provide our villages with good education and health facilities, it was the likes of AKES and AKHS who supported our people. In a nutshell, it is important that we give our opinion about something, but it is not right to sensationalize such issues, for good journalism is to give information not judgement. Regards.