Education – Peshawar

Public education facilities in Peshawar district include:

  • 400 primary schools
  • 58 middle schools
  • 38 secondary schools
  • 13 colleges
  • 7 universities

There are a number of private schools, with the most well known including Beacon House network of schools, Peshawar Model network, Peshawar public and police and army public schools and colleges. Peshawar hosts many other private colleges and institutes / universities.

In addition, there are 141 schools dedicated for Afghans and these are normally located outside of the city centre close to or within refugee villages (former camps).

A small number of Afghans students have received support through DAFI scholarships in order to attend university. UNHCR has also supported an Afghan teachers training institute. There have been several education projects in the RAHA programme, primarily focussed on the rehabilitation of, construction of additional class rooms in and provision of furniture to government schools.

In Peshawar, Afghans are admitted to government schools if places are available. However, given a chronic shortage of schools in Peshawar, in practise this means very few Afghan students actually attend government schools (one estimate by PAIMAN is that only 3-4% of Afghan children attend government schools at present). The lack of capacity is particularly acute for girls.

In colleges and universities a quota system is enforced, with 2 places available for Afghans in each university department and 5 places in each year group in colleges.

Afghans have highlighted that the enrolment procedure is bureaucratic and many refugee families often do not have the required documentation at hand.

There are also significant differences between the Afghan and Pakistani curriculums.

As noted in the posts on livelihoods, many refugee families live in extreme poverty and are forced to send their children to work, greatly increasing the dropout rates recorded in schools. The financial pressures also force families to choose which children to enrol in school, with boys tending to be enrolled much more often than girls. That said, culturally, male members of the household are also encouraged to contribute to the household income, with the result that some children have to work after school in the evening / at night.

Recommendations from the Afghan community to improve education services in Peshawar include:

  • Free primary education and improving the accessibility of girls schools (by constructing more schools or improving transport connections).
  • Advocacy within the refugee community about the benefits of their children attending school.
  • Additional middle schools as well as one more higher secondary school, especially for girls.
  • An informal education / accelerated learning program for those children involved in child labour. This will help develop children’s skills and provide constructive alternatives to their current, often very dangerous employment.