YARKHUN: While past and present governments never tired of claiming to have worked for the promotion of women education, there is not a single school for girls in the public sector in upper part of Yarkhun valley in the 21st century.
Officials in the education department of Upper Chitral confirmed to ChitralToday that dozens of villages located north of Bang up to Broghil have no school, primary or middle, for girls.
They said schools are set up either on the recommendation of the education department or the sitting member of provincial assembly (MPA) under his discretionary fund allocated in the annual development programme (ADP).
But due to absence of political representation, neither the education department nor the successive MPAs gave preference to the establishment of schools for girls in the remote areas of Yarkhun, they added.
On the contrary, new schools for girls as well as boys are established and existing ones upgraded in other areas of the district such as Torkhow and Mulkhow.
Though people of upper Yarkhun have been demanding establishment of schools for girls, the government has ignored the area since long. As a result, parents send their daughters to Bang, Brep, Mastuj, Booni, Chitral town and other areas for schooling right from the primary level. But most of the parents cannot afford this and ultimately their daughters remain deprived of education.
In other areas of Yarkhun where primary schools exist, girl students face hardship after passing the fifth class due to the absence of middle or high schools.
Talking to ChitralToday, notable of the valley and former union council nazim Farman Jaffar said there is no middle school for girls in Dizg, Khruzg, Mahting, Yukum and Phashk.
He said there is one government primary school for girls in Dizg and another in Phashk. After passing their fifth class exam, the students either have to go to Brep or Bang to continue their education.
Brep and Bang are located at a distance of over 10 to 15 km from these villages. It is almost impossible for the girl students to daily travel to the schools and back.
The former UC nazim called upon the education department to open girls primary schools in each village and upgrade the existing ones to facilitate the students.
When contacted, assistant district education officer (ADEO) planning and development (P&D) Rehmat Ali Khan told ChitralToday that a proposal to set up primary schools for girls in different parts of upper Yarkhun has been forwarded to the authorities concerned. He confirmed that there is no government school for girls in areas north of Bang up to Broghil.
There is only one middle school for girls located in Bang for the whole valley of Yarkhun while the area has no high school for girls.
The issue regarding absence of girls schools in upper part of Yarkhun was also taken up at recent a meeting of the deputy commissioner of Upper Chitral with MNA Abdul Akber and MPAs Hidayatur Rehman and Wazir Zada, he added.
Regarding the lack of middle schools for girls in other parts of Yarkhun, the ADEO said the primary schools did not fulfill the criteria for upgradation. Only the govt primary school for girls in Istach has sufficient umber of students and has been recommended for upgradation, he added.
The six-room building for a community model school for girls has been completed in Phashk but so far only 22 student have been enrolled in it and the institute is yet to become fully functional.–Zar Alam Khan