LYARI Street Schools

Street Education

By Jamil Khan

ACQUIRING education is one of the fundamental rights of every child and providing such assistance in this regard is a long-lasting virtue for the needy children. One good example in this connection is Lyari town where a dozen of street schools are providing education free of cost to hundreds of poor children on self-help basis. Most of the street schools are located in Baghdadi and Shahbeg Lane which were established by the social workers of the area in the early ’80s.
Children in these schools study from Class I to Matric while the classes are conducted in the evenings. The streets are closed for classes by tying a sheet along its breadth to stop the influx of traffic while classes proceed. In every street school, two to three classrooms are established in which 20-30 students study in every class. The age group varies from 4-12 years. A portion of the walls is painted with black paint to use it as a blackboard. Students Free Educational Centre in Lyari, is one of the oldest street school that has provided education for needy children since the past 17 years. Teachers in these schools are mostly women.
In addition to education, the management of these schools is also arranging social activities for the students from their own resources.
“This school was established in 1988 to educate poor children of the area especially those who could not afford the fees of even government schools,” President Students Free Educational Centre, Mohammad Shahid Shad enlightened us that they charge only Rs10 per month from each student but some students cannot even afford to pay such a meagre amount.
The interesting aspect of these schools is that the majority of the teachers of primary classes are themselves students of secondary classes. These students volunteer to help the younger children in their studies in these street schools. Most of the teachers have passed their matriculation examination in A grade which shows the standard of these schools even though they’re held on streets.
Maira Razzaq, who teaches class three and is herself a student of Class XII, has been teaching for the last many years. She studied in one of these street schools and intends to teach students eagerly. “The students are keen to learn various subjects but our focus is to educate them especially in subjects such as mathematics, English and Urdu,” she said.
Irum Mehar another college student is teaching English for the last six years. She also studied in the same school and is now teaching students of primary classes. “It is our responsibility to teach these poor children with our own resources as some of them are even not able to pay the fees of government schools,” she mentioned.
Shumaila Razzaq is a student of matric of the same school and also teaches students of class I. “We are here to provide the most essential education facility to the children of this poor locality and we will continue till we educate all the children of the area,” she confidently said.
There are dozens of such schools established in streets and only a couple are functioning in two-room schools where students take care of the buildings themselves.
Shabbir Ahmed Azad who runs a two-room school in the same vicinity said that “The idea of free education was given by Nadir Shah Adil, a prominent social figure of the area, in 1975”. He also mentioned that earlier the number of students was around 100-150 and that in addition to education, the management of these schools is also arranging social activities for the students from their own resources.
The social personalities of the area who run these street schools are keen to provide free education to the children of the area but are facing acute shortage of funds. They hope that some prominent NGOs will come forward and help these children in different ways.
-Published in Young World-Dawn | March 25, 2006


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