Poverty, Education in RYK By Irfan Ul Haq

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RAHIMUAR KHAN: Rahim Yar Khan is the fifth most populated district of Punjab with
about 4.8 million people. The agriculturally and economically rich district is poor in educational infrastructure. While all districts in
Punjab are improving in educational infrastructure, our district is deteriorating. On the other hand journalists were facing difficulties regarding safety and security to cover the educationally deprived
circles especially in Cholistan of RYK district. The recent report by an educational research organization on District Education Ranking
unveils that the status of Rahim Yar Khan has declined in education infrastructure in primary and middle schools as compared to previous
year.
A blogger Aamir Sharif told that once he visited the Cholistan desert to explore the condition of poor residents regarding their literacy. But he could not travel more than ten kilometers and returned back due to unsuitable weather conditions and unavailability of a proper guide. He told if any journalist or blogger travels in Cholistan, he faces difficulties because there are no proper roads. He could not cover this issue of poverty and education without proper guides or education
department officials who did not want its coverage. He said that in Cholistan majority of girls under age of ten years were deprived of their early education. He further told that in RYK for the residents of Cholistan out of which two girls high schools were non functional. Long distances, shortage of teachers, missing facilities in the buildings had
created difficulties for the children of Cholistani residents for their education.


Although Secretary School Education Department on
September 29, 2021 through notification number SO(SE)12-1/2021 suspended the District Education Officer (M-EE) BS-19 Ghulam Arbi Naveed on account of making repeated misstatements in a briefing held at the office of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) District Education
Authority (DEA) RYK before the secretary school education South Punjab and presenting misleading data which was found to be incorrect in the field visits subsequently.
Another journalist in Liaqatpur Jeved Shahid said he feels unsafe while travelling the Cholistan to cover the educational issues. He said that residents of this area did not tell about their hardships to get education for their children and
sometimes he faced very much difficulties to interview them. He told that CEO including Deputy District Education Officers (male and female) in three tehsils had not complete knowledge about data of the schools under their jourisdiction. There are total 29 schools in tehsil Liaqatpur and Khanpur. In thesil Liaqatpur there are 16 male primary schools, 2 male elementary schools while 3 male high schools and 4 female high schools. Two female high schools including Government Girls High School (GGHS) Chak 225/1-L and GGHS Chak 179/7-R were non functional since long. The other existing schools in Cholistan were running with less enrollment because teachers did not prefer to go there.
A journalist of Bagho Bahar area in tehsil Khanpur Aslam said once he faced threats from land lords during covering a closed
girls school in Cholistan because they were using the school premises
for their cattle. The landlords also warned him about dire consequences
if he highlighted the issue of education in poverty affected area, he added.
He further told that the administrative ambiguity among District Education Authority and Cholistan Development Authority were behind the poor condition of schools and worst situation of literacy rate in  Cholistan. A reporter of local daily in Khanpur Shahid Hussain said that once he was in Cholistan to cover a closed school but when he reached there, some local residents threatened him and asked to go back.He said that when he tried to take pictures of school, they tried to snatch his mobile. Another journalist of Feroza Town near Cholistan M Baqir told that he was beaten by some landlords during making a story on deprived poor people of a Basti in Cholistani area on non availability of school.When he reached in the Basti, some local farmers warned him for dire conciquences and advised him to go back. He said that in Cholistan it was difficult to cover the deprived poor people who could not educate their children. A journalist of Liaqatpur who covers rural areas requesting anonymity told that he faced threats from some landlords during coverage of poverty issues of Cholistan. These landlords did not want that the children of their workers could get education. Deputy District Education Officers Liaqatpur Mehmood Ul
Hassan Shah and Tahira Iltaf claimed that all the primary and elementary schools in Cholistan were functional and running
successfully with high enrollment but they did not provide the compared data of school going children and non enrolled children. CEO DEA Rana Naveed did not respond the calls when contacted.

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