Azmat Ali of Nagarparkar is a student in 11 grade at Miskeen Jahan Khan Khoso Higher Secondary School. However, he does not go to school but studies at a private academy in Omerkot, two hundred kilometres from their village, Kumbhar Shah.
Azmat Ali wants to become a doctor. He explains that to prepare for the FSC (pre-medical) exams.
He has to pay ten thousand rupees monthly for a private hostel in Umarkot and an additional five thousand rupees for an academy. If regular classes were in the school, he wouldn't have to travel to another district, nor would his parents bear the extra fifteen thousand rupees monthly.
Azmat Ali's father, Ali Muhammad, teaches Arabic at the same high school. He is worried about the educational expenses for his three sons and daughter. His eldest son, Mazhar Ali, has graduated, while his second son, Kashif Ali, is in the twelfth grade.
Kashif Ali is enrolled in the same school, but he cannot continue his education due to the lack of classes. His parents mention that besides the salary, they don't have any other source of income. They are struggling to cover Azmat's educational expenses, and now they are also concerned about providing education for their daughter, Kashaf.
Nangarpar is a region situated near the Indian border in the Tharparkar district, where the literacy rate is quite low. In this area, there is no college for a population of 283,000. A few years ago, the government approved the establishment of a college here, but its construction has not been completed yet.
Children seeking education in programs like FA/FSC must travel 110 kilometres to Islamkot or 150 kilometres to the district headquarters, Mithi. The considerable distance and lack of public transportation make it nearly impossible for a student to commute to college daily.
Recognising this issue, three high schools were upgraded in this tehsil. Among these, the Maskeen Jehan Khan Khoso Higher Secondary School is situated in Nagarparkar city, while the other two are located in the villages of Danoo Dhandhal and Mithi Halepoto. In 2010, these schools initiated Intermediate classes, but even after 13 years, regular classes could not commence.
All three higher secondary schools in Nagarparkar co-educated to facilitate girls' education. However, due to the absence of regular classes, Intermediate-level students do not even come to school.
According to government records, the school in Nagarparkar has 737 students, including 70 girls from the 11th and 12th grades. Dano Dhandhal Higher Secondary School has 392 students from the Intermediate level, including 75 female students. In Mithiyo Halepoto, 11 girls and 107 students are enrolled in the Intermediate level.
In all three higher secondary schools, there are nine positions of Subject Specialist (S.S) in grade 17 and one in grade 9 and grade 19 (Principal). Four positions of Senior Subject Specialists/Assistant Professors in grade 18 (S.S.S) are specified for Nagarparkar City School, and two approved positions are in each of the other two schools.
However, the current situation is that in Nagarparkar Higher Secondary School, only one Subject Specialist and one Assistant Professor are appointed. All the other 13 positions, including the principal, are vacant. In Danu Dhandhal Higher Secondary School, seven vacancies for Subject Specialists (SS) and Assistant Professor positions are also vacant. In the Higher Secondary School, Mithrio Halipto, only two Subject Specialists (S.S) and the principal are appointed. There have been no appointments for other positions, including Assistant Professors.
A teacher at the Dano Dhandhal school revealed that 30 to 40 students from the 11th and 12th grade attend the school. No subject specialist teachers exist, so primary and junior elementary school teachers take classes for intermediate students.
Madan Lal Maighora travels 10 km from his village, Kharsar, to Dano Dhandhal High School. He mentioned that the 12th-grade students have classes daily, with subjects like English, Chemistry, and Physics being taught at different times.
He says that sometimes, Botany classes also take place. A high school teacher or a junior lecturer teaches all four science subjects and English. The lecture for 11th and 12th-grade students takes place in a single classroom.
The principal of Higher Secondary School Mithrio Hallipoto, Gul Hassan Sodho, explains that their school has Physics and Botany teachers. For English, the Education Department has appointed a junior lecturer with a monthly salary of 60,000 rupees while he teaches Economics.
The principal of the Nagarparkar School, Ajmal Jeppal, says that last year, they had three temporary teachers, so they continued with intermediate classes. However, after getting permanent jobs, the interim teachers also left. Therefore, it was not possible to run classes this year.
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The principal revealed that Nagarparkar's science laboratories for matriculation classes at this school, established in 1957, are still non-operational. Intermediate students from Nagarparkar go to towns like Mithi, Umerkot, and other cities to study in tuition centres or academies. They only come here for registration and examinations.
Mirpur Khas Division's Director of School Education, Mirza Arshad Baig, admitted that all three schools in Nagarparkar have vacant positions for Subject Specialists (SS). In MiskeenJahan Khoso School, the principal himself holds the Assistant Professor in Chemistry position. As soon as SS positions are filled, regular classes will commence.
He mentions that the vacant positions in schools are due to judicial orders. He argued that the appointments of Subject Specialists (SS) could not be made without the Public Service Commission, which had been inactive for a considerable period due to court orders. This is why the appointments of teachers couldn't take place.
The Sindh Public Service Commission has now conducted written exams for the Subject Specialists (SS) candidates, and interviews are ongoing. Appointments will be made for the vacant SS positions throughout the province.
Published on 12 Oct 2023