In one village near Badin, students risk their lives twice a day to get a better education.
Every morning and every afternoon, around 50 students in Sono Khan Siyal make their way across a canal on a rickety ‘bridge’ made of branches, clinging to a rope to avoid falling in. Some parents, worried about the safety of their children, wade across the 60-feet-wide canal carrying their children on their shoulders.
“The school across the canal provides better education,” explained Muhammad Qasim Mallah, one of the fathers. “They have computer classes and their teachers do not want ant absence. Our children want a higher quality of education, you see.”
Over 400 Badin schools running in ‘dangerous’ buildings, court told.
According to the Pakistan Survey 2017-2018, the male and female literacy rate in Sindh is 70% and 46%, respectively.
According to Mallah, there is a government school within the village too, with no need to cross the canal. The problem with this school, though, is that it has barely been functional for the last seven years there is only one teacher, and even that teacher doesn’t turn up very often.
The village graveyard also lies across the canal. Funeral processions have to make their way through chest-high water carrying bodies on their shoulders. “Imagine our struggle when the water is freezing in winter or when there is heavy rain,” lamented Mallah.
At a school in Badin, children learn how to interrogate criminals before the alphabet
Taking notice of it, army personnel visited the village on Saturday. Surveying the canal, they told the villagers that a bridge built there would be 65 feet long and 18 feet wide. Mallah said the people were reassured by the visit and hoped practical steps would be taken to relieve them of their misery.
89.9% of Sindh’s schools only offer primary education
“Yes, this village is in my constituency,” confirmed MPA Hasnain Mirza, the son of Zulfiqar and Fehmida. “There are several such villages without bridges, but I have not been given even a single rupee by the Sindh government in the last seven years. Do you think I will spend money from my own pocket?”
The MPA blamed the provincial government for not releasing funds for his constituency, saying that he had highlighted a number of issues in the Sindh assemble.