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Half of quake-hit Shangla schools yet to be rebuilt.

SHANGLA -- Half of the Shangla government schools, damaged in the October 8, 2005 devastating earthquake, are still awaiting reconstruction, forcing the students to get education either in the open or in tents.

About 300 schools had developed cracks and the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (Erra) had demolished all the damaged schools, but it could only rebuilt half of them.

Mohammad Riaz, a resident of Khatak Sar in Bisham, said building of the lone government primary school in the area was demolished after the earthquake, but it was yet to be rebuilt. The children are getting schooling in the open, he added.

Mubashir Hassan, an educationist in Kana valley, said majority of government schools in the tehsil had no building which was main cause of low literacy rate.

He said building of government primary school, Dota Dambarai, where both girls and boys were studying, could collapse anytime and needed immediate reconstruction.

He urged the government to take steps for reconstruction of schools and also repair of partially damaged schools.

Aurangzeb Khan, sub-divisional district education officer for planning and development, told Dawn that 204 schools were reported in the strategy, while 87 were reported in non-strategy in the aftermath of the earthquake.

He said out of total 291 schools Erra had accepted 204 schools for reconstruction and later it demolished the schools but rebuilt only 113 of them.

The SDO said work on 51 schools had stopped halfway because of lack of funds, adding the provincial government had issued tenders of 87 non-strategy schools in 2017 but they were awaiting completion due to non-provision of funds to contractors.

He said the education department was shifting students to the rented buildings so they could continue their studies.

Shahid Ahmed, an educationist, told Dawn that lack of buildings for schools had destroyed the future of students. He said for imparting quality education to pupils without facilities and was not possible and that the government should reconstruct the damaged schools.

Besides schools, there are forest department buildings which are also awaiting completion because Erra has left them halfway.

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Publication:Dawn (Karachi, Pakistan)
Date:Oct 8, 2018
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