GILGIT: With most of the schools in Astore already understaffed, the local teachers’ transfer to neighbouring areas has exacerbated the problem.
According to education department officials, over 50 local teachers have been transferred out of the district, leaving around 20 schools severely short of teachers. They said that of the teachers transferred, a majority have been posted in Gilgit, Gilgit-Baltistan’s (G-B) capital city.
The sources maintain that as a majority of these teachers continue to draw salaries from the budget of Astore, the district administration cannot induct new teachers due to shortage of funds.
“The situation is bad. We don’t have enough teachers and given such conditions we cannot provide quality education,” a local teacher told The Express Tribune, requesting anonymity.
Masroor Alam, a local resident, said that as living conditions in the valley are tough, especially during the winters, due to the lack of basic facilities, teachers prefer to get posted in Gilgit. “Ironically a lot of teachers leave to get better education facilities for their children,” he said. Alam added that if the trend continues the district will be left desolate.
The issue was taken up in the G-B assembly by a senior lawmaker from Astore, Abdul Hameed, who asked the government to take measures to curb this trend. However no action was taken.
However, Mohammad Naseer, a minister who hails from Astore, had a stronger stance on the matter. He vowed that all teachers appointed against the posts for Astore will be repatriated, or else their salaries will be stopped.
“We have received complaints, and we take this matter seriously,” he added.
Located around 130km away from Gilgit, Astore is one of the most backward districts of G-B.
Though know for its natural beauty, with its Rama and Deosai plains dubbed “the most beautiful picnic spots”, the valley has harsh winters.
The estimated 75,000 residents of Astore rely mainly on agriculture and livestock for sustenance.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 18th, 2012.
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