A hundred dreams in tattered tents

Fazal Khaliq

The 180 students currently enrolled at Government Maktab Primary School (GMPS) in Tangai Cheena, Kabal tehsil, District Swat, have not known what it’s like to learn in a well-lit, adequately furnished classroom.

Primary schooling is all about fostering creativity and ingenuity and letting the imagination of budding schoolchildren flow. Sadly, that has not been the case for any of the GMPS alumni, as the institution has never been housed in a building nor has it had the luxury of essential facilities in its 40-year history.

Right from day 1, the school has been set up in an open yard and despite several governments promising change, not one administration has come to its aid over the past four decades.

Purposefully un-built

Huddled in two worn-out tents, the students wonder daily how societal gaps are inking their future. The winter has not been lenient to these schoolchildren and summer never allows respite.

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“I once saw this school in Mingora that had a double-storey building and a beautiful playground,” said Nazma, a student of grade five. She added she could only wish her school had all the facilities that schools in the city across the river have.

Bashir Ahmad, a GMPS alumnus is one of the two teachers tasked with teaching 180 students in six different grades. “The lack of facilities discourages these children and few are interested in continuing their education,” he said. Bashir’s colleague Nisar Ahmad concurred, adding parents do not want to send their children to a school that does not even look like a school.

The locals told that the local MPA has promised several times but in vain.

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