Education International
Education International

Pakistan: New schools open after flooding

published 25 May 2011 updated 30 May 2011

EI welcomes the opening of new schools in rural parts of Pakistan which were devastated by flooding last July.

New three-classroom primary schools have been established in the Southern Punjab province to replace those schools that were destroyed in the worst flooding to hit Pakistan in 80 years. The natural disaster claimed the lives of thousands of people, and severely disrupted children’s education, as more than 10,000 schools were left damaged.

In the village of Mullan Walla, which is in Muzaffargarh District, each new classroom is well-equipped with desks, chairs and a blackboard, along with learning materials like books, notebooks and learning games.

Already 314 children have begun taking classes at the new school, up from 121 students before the floods, and a further 45 are getting set to enrol. Many of the new students are girls who are being taught for the first time.

Headmaster Mukhtar Ahmadhas noted that the new schools provide normality and opportunities for communities: “We have been provided with a wonderful school, furniture and teaching materials. This is something for us to rejoice. It is a lifetime reward for me that children of this area and village receive education and this will make me very happy.”

The school is one of six prototype Transitional School Structures, built to varying designs that are being set up in Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan provinces. These temporary schools represent a significant move from the emergency response phase of the flood disaster towards early recovery, and are a key component of the United Nations’ Delivering as One programme.

UNICEF’s Representative in Pakistan, Dan Rohrmann, who opened the latest school, said: “It is critical that learning continues during humanitarian responses in order to create some normality for children during times of crisis.”

He explained that “even more important is that they can continue with more formal learning and help fulfil the fundamental right of all children to a quality education. The Transitional School Structures are quick to build and relatively inexpensive.”

The schools are also an important community resource. Rohrmann acknowledged that “apart from their use in general education, schools offer a convergence point for a whole range of community engagement. They are essentially a hub for local development and wellbeing, and represent education’s central place in the community.”

After the severe floods, EI General Secretary visited the country and called for more and coordinated support from the international community for the people of Pakistan. With EI's help, three Pakistani teachers' organisations are supporting thousands of educators who lost their homes and personal belongings, providing up to 30,000 victims.

If you would like to contribute to EI’s solidarity fund please clearly mark your donation for the ‘Pakistan floods’ and send to: Education International ‘Fonds de Solidarité’, ING Bank Rue du Trône 14-16, 1000, Brussels, Belgium. Account number: 310-1006170-75  IBAN: BE05 3101 0061 7075 SWIFT or BIC CODE: BBRUBEBB