Schoolchildren in KPK are deprived of complimentary textbooks

The Pakhtun Students Federation (PSF) has voiced its dissatisfaction with the discontinuation of the distribution of complimentary textbooks to schoolchildren in KPK attending government schools in the area and urged authorities to swiftly reverse this decision. PSF president Abdul Wahab Afridi highlighted the impact of militant activities on the education sector in the tribal district. He cited the destruction of more than 100 schools and the subsequent plight of thousands of students. Afridi emphasized the urgent need for school reconstruction efforts. The president also emphasized the critical importance of continuing to provide free textbooks to students.

Afridi underscored that a considerable number of schoolchildren in KPK hail from impoverished families who have endured displacement for years. This is what made it financially burdensome for them to purchase textbooks from the market. He stressed that the provision of complimentary textbooks is not only a fundamental right but also crucial for ensuring equal access to education, particularly for economically disadvantaged students. Denying students access to free textbooks, Afridi argued, amounts to a violation of their basic rights and perpetuates educational inequality.

The PSF leader urged authorities to reconsider their decision to suspend the distribution of free textbooks. Additionally, he emphasized the adverse consequences it would have on the educational prospects of underprivileged schoolchildren. Teachers from government schools in Bara tehsil echoed Afridi’s concerns. They went on to expressing apprehension about the negative impact on education in the militancy-affected tribal region.

Officials from the district’s education department provided clarification. They stated that the provision of free textbooks to government schools did not halt. However, there was a reduction in the quota for certain grades due to reports of their illegal sale. They indicated that students from kindergarten to grade 3 continue to receive complimentary books. But there has been a 20% reduction in the book quota for grades 4-5. Additionally, quotas for other classes have been nearly halved, reflecting efforts to address complaints about misuse and illegal distribution of textbooks.