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AFP: Taliban bus attack kills four boys in Pakistan - 0 views

  • PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Taliban ambushed a Pakistani school bus on Tuesday, killing four boys and the driver in a hail of bullets and rocket fire on the outskirts of the northwestern city of Peshawar, police said.

    The children studied at an elite English-language school of a type reviled by hardline Islamist militants who oppose what they see as Western-imported, secular education.

    Two seven-year-old girls on the bus were also wounded, officials said.

  • Police said the bus was taking children home at the end of the school day, which in Pakistan finishes in the early afternoon.

    Senior police official Kalam Khan said from the scene that four boys were killed along with the bus driver.

    "The gunmen were waiting for the bus in fields and attacked when it came close. They fired a rocket and then fired bullets on the van," he said.

  • Shoaib Khan, a 15-year-old student wounded in the attack, said gunmen first opened fire on one side of the road, then waited for pupils to start fleeing before widening the attack.
Teachers Without Borders

PAKISTAN: Schools Rise From the Rubble - IPS - 0 views

  • PESHAWAR, Jun 26, 2011 (IPS) - Violence in the tribal areas of northwest Pakistan has kept students away from school, in some areas for at least two years. Now, officials are trying to make up for lost time by holding classes even under tents or trees.
  • "We are overwhelmed to be back in school," said third grade student Jaweria over the phone from Orakzai. The Taliban bombed her school in August last year, she said, leaving students idle.
  • Orakzai Agency is one of seven "agencies" or tribal units that constitute Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). FATA is the war-torn region between Afghanistan and the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) in northwest Pakistan, which has become the base of the Taliban and Al- Qaeda.
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  • In Orakzai alone, militants blew up nearly 80 educational institutions, including several schools from primary to high school for boys and girls, and one Degree College for men. Last February, militants destroyed the lone Girls’ Degree College, whose 235 students continue holding classes atop the debris.
  • The move will put some 4,500 students back on track with their schooling, and employ 192 teachers as well.
  • "The students study under the shade of trees, while they use the tents to store their bags. This is because there is no electricity inside the tents while outside the students enjoy a good atmosphere," said teacher Shahidullah Khan. At the moment, the students use mats in lieu of school desks, which will be provided in the future, he added.
  • Khan said the FATA has 5,478 schools and colleges, hundreds of which have been damaged, depriving some 255,000 students of education. The government was forced to shut down another 18 due to violence, leaving more than 300 teachers jobless.
  • In Mohmand Agency, the militants flattened 108 schools affecting almost 90,000 students. The authorities said they have reopened 44 boys’ and 12 girls’ schools in tents, while the rest are being reconstructed.
  • These government-run schools are the only source of modern education for students in the FATA. They offer classes from the first to the 10th grade, but students have to source their own books and other school materials. Gibran Khan is another beneficiary of the tent school that was established on May 30. "I was sad when our school was destroyed in January this year but now I am happy," said Khan, a 12-year-old fifth grade student.
  • Statistics for female literacy in the FATA are also disturbing. Neighbouring KP province has a female literacy rate of 30 percent, but the rate is FATA is a mere three percent. The national literacy rate for females is 54 percent.
  • "We have launched a programme in which we are going to reconstruct damaged schools. The government of Japan is assisting in rebuilding 80 schools in FATA," said Ghafoor Khan, education officer of the FATA Secretariat.
Teachers Without Borders

Militants target teachers in Pakistan's southwest-HRW - AlertNet - 0 views

  • Militants in Pakistan's Baluchistan are increasingly attacking teachers, college professors and other school personnel, pushing the education system in the southwest province to the "brink of collapse".

    New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report called "Their Future is at Stake" and released in Islamabad on Monday, that the attacks were forcing several hundred education officials to flee.

  • Critics say the government has failed to provide millions of with a proper education in Pakistan. Many poor Pakistanis can only afford to send their children to religious schools, which the critics say promote Islamic fundamentalism.
  • Baluchistan, Pakistan's largest but poorest province bordering Afghanistan and Iran, has large mineral reserves, including oil, gas, copper and gold.
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  • Out of fear of militant attacks, he said 200 teachers had transferred to jobs in safer areas, while another 200 were hoping to find jobs elsewhere.
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