The school was originally called Seth Kooverji Khimji Lohana Gujarati School (SKKLGS) in honor of a Gujarati social worker. It was renamed Malala Yousafzai Govt Girls Secondary High School in February 2012 in honor of the young Nobel Laureate.
“Let’s not change history,” Kapil Dev, a human rights activist from Pakistan, said in a tweet. He asked the Sindh Education Minister to review the decision. “The government should instead open new schools in honor of our icon Malala,” he said. Malala’s father Ziauddin Yousafzai said the school’s original name needs to be restored. “We are required to respect our history,” he replied to the news in a tweet.
Saeed Ghani, Sindh’s education minister, said he had asked his department to submit a full report on the matter.
“The name will be officially reinstated after due process, but any other school will surely carry the Malala name that does not have that kind of old name,” he tweeted.
VM Ganatra, an 83-year-old lawyer who studied at Seth Kooverji Khimji Lohana Gujarati School up to grade 4, says he remembers the time of the school and some of its teachers vividly. He and his family moved to Bhuj before independence.
Kooverji Khimji was a respected philanthropist with contributions in the education sector. Its name in the story highlights Gujarati Sindhi’s contribution to the creation of Karachi and must be safeguarded, social media users tweeted.
Few people prefer to enroll in government schools
Mohammed Arif Aajakia, a Franco-Pakistani of Indian descent and former deputy mayor of a town of Jamshed near Karachi, said there were many Gujarati schools before, but all have been closed over the years. In the schools which remain functional, teaching is done in the local languages.
Dr Mahadev Lohana, a doctor from Kutch who has lived for 25 years in the Sindh region, said estimates put that there are two million Gujarati speaking people in Karachi.
He said there are references in books that Taravanti Bai was appointed Gujarati language teacher in 1982 by the government of Sindh. She taught at SKKLGS. She retired on April 18 of last year. Dr Lohana said that due to the low percentage of enrollment in public schools, teachers could not continue to teach in Gujarati for long.