School of 150 students evacuated after auction Hazardous for students

Sukker :December 24:The school’s principal, Ratan Lal, recalled that many parts of the school had become virtual no-go areas for the students and faculty members. Chunks of the ceiling of several classrooms were precariously falling off, causing them to stop using the rooms. “This historical school,” he claimed, “was first built in 1843.” The principal added that at the time, it was only a small building. As time passed and the number of students increased, the authorities decided to demolish the building and reconstruct it on a larger area.

Earlier, the school had only one toilet for around 1,800 students – that too was located at a considerable distance from the main school building. Besides this, the school also faced an acute shortage of water. The principal claimed that they received an annual sum of Rs100,000 under the School Management Committee Fund, which was inadequate to meet the school’s day-to-day expenses.

Multi-purpose

Currently, the school building, besides catering to the needs of 1,800 high school students, also houses a girls’ middle school, a primary school, a school for the aurally-impaired as well as the district education officer’s office. There is just the one electricity meter for the huge building and, as all the other schools use electricity from the same connection, the bill is paid by the district education officer.

Sukkur commissioner Muhammad Abbas Baloch, who formally inaugurated the newly-renovated building, lauded the FFC’s contribution towards the fields of education and health. “The FFC has done a great service by preserving the historical high school of Mirpur Mathelo,” he said, adding that the Sindh government, with its limited resources, was trying hard to improve education and health services but it cannot resolve all the problems alone. Baloch urged other multi-national companies to join hands with the government to provide quality education and healthcare to the people.

The repairs

FFC’s resident manager Brigadier Waheed Akhtar said that the company had spent Rs10 million on the school’s repairs. Briefing about the repairs and maintenance, Akhtar said that 40 classrooms and six corridors have been furnished with marble tiles, while two washroom blocks, one each on the ground and first floor, have been renovated. Each of these blocks has eight toilets, seven urinals and water tanks with a capacity of 250 gallons. Most importantly, the roof over an area of 15,000 square feet has been removed and the damaged girders and T-irons replaced, he said.

According to Akhtar, over 100 doors and windows of the classrooms and offices have been repaired and 54 panels have been replaced. The mud plaster of a height of up to four feet on the internal side of the walls and two feet height on the external side was removed and plastered with cement mortar. The internal and external painting of walls, ceilings, doors, windows and ventilators has also been carried out, besides the installation of two electronic water coolers and replacement of ceiling fans and tube lights, he added.Published in The Express Tribune, December 25th, 2015.