Pakistan School Bu­raimi, a boon for the com­mu­nity

Muscat Daily - - FRONT PAGE -

Pakistan School Bu­raimi which came up in 2016 has come as a life­line for the Pak­istani com­mu­nity in the re­gion. Till 2014, Pak­istani stu­dents in Bu­raimi used to at­tend schools in Al Ain be­fore a visa rule in­tro­duced by the UAE gov­ern­ment of charg­ing AED23 for ev­ery en­try (daily) forced them to sit at home. Many par­ents had to send their chil­dren back to Pakistan be­cause of the high cost of the per­mit sys­tem.

The gov­er­norate is home to a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of Pak­ista­nis. The com­mu­nity de­scribes the new school as a ‘bless­ing’ as stu­dents had to strug­gle a lot due to lack of ed­u­ca­tion fa­cil­i­ties in the area and had to even travel long dis­tances to at­tend schools.

Mus­cat Daily spoke to some of the stu­dents who had gone through the daily or­deal of com­mut­ing be­tween Al Ain and Bu­raimi.

Kousar Waqar Ali and her younger sis­ters, Amna and Fa­tima have been liv­ing in Bu­raimi for the past 11 years.

Kousar said, “We would wake up at 5.30am ev­ery day and take a bus. At the bor­der, our per­mit would be checked for en­try into the UAE. In 2014, we were told that we can’t en­ter Al Ain through the Bu­raimi check­point to pur­sue our ed­u­ca­tion. As a re­sult we had to dis­con­tinue our stud­ies.”

“I was in Grade VIII then. We had nowhere else to go to pur­sue our stud­ies. We ended up wait­ing two years as we were told a school would come up in Bu- raimi. We are now at­tend­ing the school in a more re­laxed man­ner and we have friends who live here.”

Azhra Kha­toon, a mother of six chil­dren, said, “All my chil­dren used to at­tend school in Al Ain. My chil­dren were out­stand­ing in their stud­ies. I was wor­ried be­cause my older chil­dren were in higher classes. My hus­band’s busi­ness was in Bu­raimi. So, I got my younger chil­dren ad­mit­ted to Ara­bic schools here.

“I got my older chil­dren ad­mit­ted to Pakistan School Mus­cat in grades VI, VIII and IX. We rented out a place in Mus­cat un­til they cleared their ex­ams. It was a lot of has­sle for us to shut­tle be­tween Mus­cat and Bu­raimi. It was very stress­ful to man­age every­thing for two years.” Con­tin­ued on

Azhra said many fam­i­lies moved their chil­dren back to Pakistan or other places. “The bor­der used to be busy on Thurs­days. At times it took one and a half hour for the rush to clear. Many chil­dren missed out on ed­u­ca­tion for a cou­ple of years. We are glad that there is a Pakistan school in Bu­raimi now.”

Speak­ing to Mus­cat Daily, Sam­ina Khan, former prin­ci­pal of Pakistan School Bu­raimi, said, “It is al­most a year since this school opened on Au­gust 10. I think this isn’t just any other school. It was some­thing that had be­come a must for the Pak­istani com­mu­nity in the re­gion.”

She added, “Many study­ing in Al Ain had to dis­con­tinue their ed­u­ca­tion. Most of them re­turned to Pakistan. There were chil­dren who were in se­nior classes and had to waste at least two years not be­cause of lack of schools but the ones avail­able were ex­pen­sive. The fee was about RO150 per month at other schools which was un­af­ford­able for many par­ents.”

She said that it took a while to get the req­ui­site ap­provals to start the school.

“By then, many stu­dents had gone back to Pakistan. We got a fan­tas­tic re­sponse from the com­mu­nity ini­tially. We had 50 stu­dents on the first day and in about nine months the en­rol­ment touched 201.”

Sam­ina said the school has 107 boys and 94 girls. “We have stu­dents from coun­tries like Afghanistan, Su­dan, Libya, Egypt, Al­ba­nia and Bangladesh. The school has 14 teach­ers and classes till Grade VIII.”

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