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Thursday, December 8, 2022
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EditorialSchools after floods

Schools after floods

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has called attention to the damage to schools in Pakistan as a result of the flood that has kept more than two million children out of school. In total, 27,000 schools were destroyed throughout the country. The catastrophic floods have had a significant impact on access to education in Sindh and Balochistan besides Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and south Punjab, because of the damage done to school access and infrastructure. A few schools in the affected areas have managed to escape harm. The government has no option but to ensure access to education, which is a fundamental human right under Article 25A of the Constitution and Balochistan’s Compulsory Education Act, 2014, for all children.
According to Robert Jenkins, global director of education for Unicef, millions of children in Pakistan lost their families, homes, sense of security, and access to education in the most horrific conditions almost overnight. In some of the flood-affected communities, more than two months after the terrible floods ravaged major portions of the country, school roofs are only now starting to emerge. According to estimates, the flood levels won’t completely recede for weeks or even months.  It is crucial to reinvest in school enrollment and school infrastructure for the long term, not just this year or the next. A similarly strong monsoon season has been predicted for the next few years. Excellent has already been damaged, and unless proper measures are implemented, it will degrade further, as the focus of educational programs is on enrolling as many students as possible while paying little attention to generating quality learning opportunities.
It is encouraging to observe that donor agencies have assisted in the establishment of remote-learning options in flood-affected regions, in addition to the establishment of temporary learning centres; however, more serious steps are required. But other than donor agencies, it is the government that has to take charge and focus on school re-opening and development.

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