Thanks to the DFID-assisted School Construction & Rehabilitation Programme (SCRP) nearly a 1000 girl students of the Government Girls Higher Secondary School Shahbaz Ghari, Mardan will receive respite from days of classes in the open, harsh temperamental weather.
On November 26, 2015 KP Education Department team headed by Atif Khan, the Minister of Education, and the DFID Team including Judith Herbertson, DFID Pakistan Acting Head, arrived in Mardan on Thursday morning to get a first-hand overview of the construction work underway. Mardan District is at the helm of the transformation under the new initiative to transform schools from long-neglected derelict spaces into vibrant haven of learning with quality construction bolstered by active community engagement.
A well-knit compact field visit covered a lot of bases in half a day, giving the visitors an opportunity to realise that while the backlog of missing facilities and infrastructure looms large, the process to achieve the said goals has begun in earnest. One of the redeeming features is the enthusiastic participation of the community elders, teachers and Education Department, who have come together in a grand alliance with a resolve to build, maintain and sustain quality schools. "The more I see of the school, the more I want to be involved in making a difference" said Waqar Khan, Head of the newly formed Community Committee for School Infrastructure.
Lively interaction with girl students in the class room setting made Ms. Herbertson feel nostalgic as she reminisced, “…as a teacher it gives me most pleasure to observe that we are seeing progress in our work to help build safe and appealing places of learning". The number of out-of-school children is staggering with KP alone having more than 3 million. She observed that the challenge before the educationists is huge. Pakistan, she said, is a young country where education is the best way to take advantage of youth dividend. “I am lucky to have the job, I have, to be part of the big team devoted to create a stimulating environment for children"
KP Minister of Education, Atif Khan, took time to personally brief the DFID team on the school construction site in Shabaz Garhi where 12 new rooms, 11 wash rooms are being built to provide quality space and basic facilities. “Great to see the programme on track and heading in the right direction,” Atif Khan told Humqadam Engineering Team. He reaffirmed KP government's serious resolve to improve the condition of public schools. “We have made an unprecedented increase in the budget for education as we realise our responsibility to deliver quality education to all children", he remarked.
Prefacing the inspection of construction work in progress at GHSS Shahbaz Garhi, a brief presentation was delivered by Humqadam Deputy Team Leader, Isfundiar Kasuri, on the SCRP’s status and the pace of implementation. In Phase 1 of the Programme, Humqadam aims to upgrade 202 Higher Secondary Schools, build 350 additional class rooms in primary schools and provide missing facilities to effectively cover water, sanitation and hygiene interventions. In the first phase the work is in progress in the three districts of Mardan, Charsadda and Peshawar.