LAHORE: Youhanabad the largest Christian settlement in the country is deprived of government schools.
The area is one of the largest homes to Pakistani Christian community; yet there is not a single government school. The scenario exposes extravagant claims of the local political leaders and provincial governments of make educational facilities available to all. All the same, the private sector is taking full advantage of these circumstances, vigorously dominating the open field thus charging high fee from relatively poor people. Those who cannot meet the expense of private schools are therefore left with no other option but to let their children play in streets or make them do different jobs to muddle through the ever increasing inflation.
The non-existence of government schools is one the foremost causes of rise in the number of out-of-school children. A recent inspection trip to Youhanabad organized by Jahandad Society for Community Development (JSCD) tinted the provincial government’s utter malfunction to provide appropriate civic facilities to the locals. Dr Yasmin Raashid- JSCD Chairperson, the general public faces enormous problems in drawing the out-of-school children of Youhanabad towards schools since there was not a single government school in the area.
She said,”A government school would be a big facility for the people who had been marginalized over the years. Most of the people were so poor that they could not afford private schools for their children. ”Dr Yasmin added that,”During the campaign, the private schools were requested for fee-waiver or concession for the poor children to bring them to schools. However every private school is not always ready to waive off fee or even provide fee concession.”
On the other hand the residents of Youhanabad condemned the government, calling for institution of government schools in the area on urgent basis. A resident of Youhanabad Pastor Mahmood Masih said, “We cannot have any bigger gift from the Punjab government on this Christmas than announcement of a government school for boys and girls in Youhanabad.” As said by him, in dearth of government schools, most of the residents of the area who are underprivileged; were incapable to send their children to private schools owing to sky-high fee and other expenses. At the same time he sternly criticized the politicians.
In accordance with a survey conducted by young champions of Young Champions Project for Girls Education, there are overall 6,000 families in Youhanabad. The survey further disclosed that, out of 280 families of UC-142 of Youhanabad, there were 314 school-going children (categorized according to age groups) of age group 4-10). This situation is unquestionably upsetting and requires immediate attention from the government to provide free- of-cost educational facilities to people of area.