KHYBER AGENCY: Students were seen, sitting in the lawn of their school, surrounded by a wreckage of their destroyed school building,but were busy attending a class. Such was the outlook of the historical and the oldest educational institution of Khyber Agency, the Government High School of AlamGodar Tehsil Bara. Established in 1913,the institution received the status of being a high school, containing more than 27 classrooms, accommodating approximately 2,000 students before terrorism hit that reduced the number to 250. In 2009, terrorists installed explosives inside the building of the school that destroyed the structure of the institution completely,leaving behind only an examination hall. Like other parts of the tribal belt, Bara Tehsil was one of the worst affected areas in a decade-long terrorism era where the infrastructure has been completely destroyed. After restoring peace in Bara, in 2015, the government decided to reopen the school to facilitate the repatriated families, however the students and their parents complained that the reconstruction was still not complete. A 9th grade student of the school, Habibul Haq said that the present condition of the school was that of a pile of rubble and the students had to sit on bare ground to attend their classes. He informed that the government had begun the reconstruction of the school but could not provide furniture or even clean drinking water to the students. One of the teachers of the school,Muhammad Shoaib, while highlighting some of the other problems said that the terrorists had bombed the whole structure of the school,leaving behind just the examination hall that was also decaying gradually. “The debris is still present in the premises of the school and there is always a cause of anxiety for both the teachers and students that if there is any unexploded explosive remaining under the ruins,it might burst as well,” Muhammad Shoaib said. He further added that even thought he studies and classes had resumed, the staff and students had to sit in tents also sometimes. He was thankful for the local philanthropists who provided uniform to the students along with other necessities.However, basic necessities were lacking that included drinking water and furniture etc. He informed that they had communicated their problems to the education department, but to no avail. “Classes have started in temporary makeshifts that can accommodated two classes each and in severe weather it is impossible for the students to continue their studies,” a local Hukmaran Afridi, whose three sons and a grandson was studying in the school, said. When the Agency Education Officer Jadoon Wazir was contacted on the matter, he said that there were 154 demolished schools,in which 90 of them were partially demolished while 64 were fully destroyed. He informed that 16 fully destroyed schools had been rebuilt under the Governor Special Development Programme and 16 partially damaged institutions had been reconstructed by the United Nations Development Programme. He added that tendering of rebuilding of 68 more schools of Bara was expected in the month of March with support of China Aid. Published in Daily Times, February 9th 2018.