District Mardan is the second most populous city of KP with an estimated population of 2.34 million spread out over 632 sq km. Located on fertile grounds, Mardan is an agriculturally productive area. Mardan also boasts of a historically rich heritage, and is the site of many archaeological spots. Of the entire population, 36% are children under the age bracket of 5-16 years. Literacy rate in Mardan is 48%.
As one of the most populous districts of KP, Mardan only has 1,995 schools (Boys 1009 and Girls 906) and 8100 class-rooms. All together only half a million children are enroled in public and private schools. Needless to say, these class-rooms are insufficient to meet the needs for a growing district. Statistics reveal approximately half the children in Mardan are not enroled in any schooling system. Gender disparity in education is another alarming indicator of the inadequacy of the current education set up, where in the male literacy stands at 53.50%, and the female literacy is at a measly 18.38% only. Gross Enrolment Rate (GER) is 72% at primary while 42% at secondary level. The trend shows increased drop-out with rise in education level.
Through a meticulous process of technical and baseline surveys, Humqadam-SCRP assessed the state of Primary and selected higher secondary schools is in need of priority attention. Almost 30% of the schools do not have a boundary wall. There is a huge backlog of missing facilities. Overall, 66 schools do not have drinking water facility, whilst another 314 are devoid of electricity, and yet another 120 schools lack toilet facilities.
District Mardan is the scene of a new initiative to transform schools from long neglected premises into vibrant places of learning with Humqadam-led efforts. A redeeming feature is the enthusiastic participation of the community elders, teachers and education department who have come together in a grand alliance with a resolve to build, maintain and sustain quality schools. What a non-issue was until recently is now a part of the wider community discourse in Mardan.