By Sajid Bajeer 

Students have been forced to study on the desert sand. 

Hundreds of schools have been closed after the appointment of Monitoring Assistants and the implementation of Biometric System at the schools in Tharparkar that is a backward area in the Sindh province of Pakistan.

Sources from Education Department told PakVoices that the implementation of Monitoring and Biometric System from May this year has resulted in the closure of 672 schools.

After the appointment of monitoring assistants, who came through NTS testing service, several teachers have been sent back to their original posts, who had been serving on deputation. As a result of massive clean up operation at the schools, where hundreds of students were under study, have been closed.

Many students and their parents have been left in the lurch as they (students) have been deprived of their school in the middle of the session when no school would admit them.

A large number of affected students and their parents gathered outside the DC Tharparkar’s office to register their protest on 70th Independence Day of Pakistan. 

Out of school students along with their parents recorded protest outside the office of District Commissioner Tharparkar at the eve of Pakistan’s 70th Independence day but nobody paid heed to their genuine demand. Parents said, “At least our children were going to schools, which have been shut down without prior notice or planning.”

Pak Voices spoke to a few parents who were participating in the protest. Channo Mull, a protesting father told Pak Voices, “We have protested at the gate of District Commissioner Tharparkar’s office but no concerned official bothered to show up and listen to our demands.”

The parents made an appeal to the provincial education department’s high ups in the following words: “The children should be admitted in alternative available schools so that their future would be secure.” They added that if their children are not admitted, they would lose at least one precious year of their study due to ill planned initiative of the education department.

Students have been forced to study in village huts since the closure of their schools. 

Education Department had implemented the monitoring and biometric system this May to ensure the attendance of teachers and bring about the educational reforms. As a result, the teachers appointed on deputation were sent back to their respective departments.

According to education department sources, currently, 30 monitoring assistants are working for 3787 schools of 64 union councils of Tharparkar. A handful number of monitoring officers means every assistant will have to inspect at least 130 schools, a simple math tells.

Educationist and Coordinator of Alif Alaan Partaab Shivani told Pak Voices, “The problem has arisen because the Education Department had appointed monitoring assistants without proper planning and without taking the parents on board.”

These students are holding slates with slogans against the closure of their schools. 

Shivani further said, “The decisions are made without proper planning and local conditions are not taken into account due to which good initiatives also result into bad consequences.”

Reliable sources also shared that 69 lady teachers are also sent back to their original posts in rural areas after the implementation of a biometric system.

The students also gathered outside their closed school this week to record their protest. 

Nanak Ram, a father of an affected student told Pak Voices, “Children were studying in our local schools since years. We didn’t know that temporary teachers (on deputation) were appointed here who will be transferred all of a sudden resulting in such a crisis where the students would be left out of school.”

Sajid Bajeer is working with Pak Voices as a citizen journalist from Tharparkar region.

Edited by Hasan Khan

Translated by Salman Tahir