Students’ death in roof collapse shocks Pakistani daily

May 10th, 2012 - 12:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, May 10 (IANS) A Pakistani daily, shocked at the death of nine students in a roof collapse, has demanded the revival of the “moribund system of school inspections to ensure such incidents are not repeated”.

The students died in Narowal, Punjab, when the roof of their privately owned school collapsed, prompting the Daily Times to say in an editorial Thursday: “In a country where all institutions seem to be freefalling into disorder and ineptitude is the name of the game, the day is not far when there may be a complete breakdown.”

“When did schools become places where children die?” it asked.

The daily said the state and some privately owned educational institutions have become “examples of bad governance, bad policies, and above all bad attitude”.

“Government-run schools are in a bad condition - that is an unfortunate but accepted reality of Pakistan…(and) the establishment of private educational institutions has become a lucrative business.

“While schools in affluent areas torture people in a different way (exorbitant fees and tremendous stress of studies), the ones for the less fortunate are run in more shoddy ways than one can imagine. Old, rundown, small houses are rented or bought and turned into structures called private schools,” it added.

It noted the “lack of staff, overcrowded classrooms, lack of extracurricular activities, absence of playgrounds, strict punishments, scant attention to quality of education being provided”.

“…to top it all, children are not even physically safe in some of these places.”

The daily said schools without proper safety guidelines are aplenty.

“Since there is no apparent government policy in place, the school owners and administration are oblivious to the wear and tear of buildings, thus endangering the lives of students and staff. Without fear of governmental inspection, and consequently, of no penalty for not ensuring the safety of places where children gather to learn, such schools blithely continue to function and people suffer,” it said.

“It is time the government reinstituted the moribund system of school inspections to ensure such incidents are not repeated,” the daily added.

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