Written by: Syed Muhammad Abdullah Hameed - Humqadam/Islamabad
Photos credits: Ihsan Ali - Humqadam/Rahim Yar Khan
Humqadam-School Construction and Rehabilitation Programme (SCRP) comes as a welcome change in bringing about much needed school infrastructure improvement across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Punjab Province. With the provision of additional classrooms and toilet facilities in public schools, Humqadam-SCRP has piqued the interest of relevant stakeholders, most notably the teachers. The improved school infrastructure has improved the teaching-learning process at the schools, truly transforming them into a joyful learning place.
Situated in one of the more remote districts of Punjab Province, Rahim Yar Khan, Government High School (GHS) Mud Mangla dates back to 1952. The school is the only one of its kind in the vicinity catering to the educational needs of surrounding agrarian families. Before Humqadam-SCRP’s involvement at GHS Mud Mangla, accommodating over 300 students while maintaining a nurturing educational environment was a major challenge due to the school's poor sanitation, water seepage, roof leakage issues and poor school infrastructure. The dilapidated school building was declared dangerous in 2007 and needed urgent repair.
Humqadam-SCRP adopted the school in December 2015 and constructed a new double story academic block that houses 12 new classrooms and seven toilet facilities including one for Persons with Disability (PWD). The new academic block is providing a safe and healthy school environment to young students and creating an enabling environment for teachers.
Speaking about the plight of poor school infrastructure in public schools, the School Principal, Mr. Asim Ali explained that school facilities have a profound impact on both teacher retention and student outcomes. After the school building was declared dangerous, teachers were forced to take classes in the open or under the shade of trees, which hindered the teaching-learning process. The new infrastructure has created an enabling environment and brought a positive change in the mindset of parents to send their children to school. The school also witnessed a sharp increase in student enrolment from 300 to 371 in a one-year span.
School infrastructure is also an important predictor of teacher retention and the effort they put in their work. The old building was declared dangerous and provided a stressful environment, negatively effecting the learning capabilities of children. Through the provision of high quality school infrastructure, there has been a positive impact on the educational outcomes, teachers' experience at the school, reduction in drop-out rates, and increase in enrolment, among other benefits. With renewed spaces, there is a surge in teachers’ spirit to deliver quality education while maintaining a nurturing environment.
UK Aid through Humqadam-SCRP is working closely with the Government of Punjab to provide additional classrooms and toilet facilities in government schools of Punjab province. As part of improving school infrastructure, Humqadam-SCRP has constructed 122 classrooms and 91 toilet facilities in 46 schools in Rahim Yar Khan District, as of September 2018. In addition, Humqadam-SCRP is currently active in 73 schools to positively impact educational attainments.