Safe, Secure, and Equitable
School Infrastructure is increasing the
Odds for Success for Out-of-School Children
in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province

8th Aug 2018

Written by: Abeera Ahmed - Humqadam/Islamabad
Source & Photos credits: Hashim Khan - Humqadam/Charsadda

The new building block at GHSS Billitang, District Kohat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Humqadam - School Construction and Rehabilitation Programme (SCRP) is upscaling school infrastructure across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Punjab to contribute towards improved quality education, particularly with a focus on providing accessibility to those who are often hardest to reach- People with disability (PWDs), girls, and socio-economically disadvantaged groups. School infrastructure plays a critical role in the broader picture of inclusive, equitable, and tangible learning outcomes. Through its expansive works in KP, Humqadam-SCRP is offering girls and boys who have been previously excluded from the schooling system a chance to build their own narratives and futures.

Raheem is currently a student of Grade 7 at Government Higher Secondary School (GHSS) Billitang, District Kohat, KP. This is his first formal educational experience since he last dropped out years ago. Belonging to a poor, rural family in Kohat, Raheem is one of five brothers. He dreamed of going to the Cadet College, but the tuition fee- even at cadet schools- is prohibitive for poor families, especially those hailing from rural areas. Unable to fulfil his dream, he got disinterested in learning all together and dropped out.

Raheem has re-joined formal education at GHSS Billitang post-Humqadam interventions

“My old school was a far cry from a healthy learning experience. The building was old and ramshackle, and it never piqued my interest enough for me to focus on learning. I had often seen the Cadet College from outside, and that building looked like an educational institute,” said Raheem of his reasons for dropping out.

Their school to some 1300 students, GHSS Billitang was adopted by Humqadam-SCRP in 2015, and the SCRP undertook complete rehabilitation and new construction works at the school. 14 new classrooms, 3 science labs, 1 Exam Hall, and 11 student toilets, including one for PWDs, were added along with rehabilitation of 28 pre-existing classrooms. GHSS Billitang was completed in 2016, and not only the school infrastructure but the general student spirit got a new lease on life.

Raheem’s neighbor- another student at GHSS Billitang- convinced Raheem to have a look at the new school. Curiosity got the better of him, and Raheem decided to have a look at the newly completed GHSS Billitang. He was pleasantly surprised at the transformation. This new school seemed closer to the kind of school he had in mind, and immediately decided to enroll as a student.

“When my friend told me about his new school, I rushed to see with my own eyes. It was everything I was looking for: bright, well-lit classrooms, open spaces, dedicated science labs, and new toilets. I could definitely see myself studying at GHSS Billitang,”recounted Raheem about what influenced his decision to enroll.

Nawaz Afridi, Principal at GHSS Billitang, echoed the same opinion, “The new infrastructure is proving to be instrumental in creating a more conducive learning environment for the students. The teachers and students now have a revived interest in education, but most of all, this is an opportunity for the students to reach their full potential without any external distractions.”

So far, Humqadam-SCRP has completed 50 Higher Secondary Schools across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. These schools underscore a transformative change not just in terms of infrastructure, but also in the lives of the students, their families, and communities more broadly.