JAMRUD: Teachers from the tribal areas – particularly from Bajaur Agency and Waziristan boycotted their classes and closed schools in Khyber Agency on Thursday.
They protested in the agency and held a sit-in in Islamabad against the government which had failed to upgrade them as promised earlier. The teachers threatened to keep schools closed until notification for their upgradation was issued.
However, the parents accused teachers of having vested interests and only being interested in money and upgradation at the expense of students and their studies.
During their sit-in in Islamabad, teachers in Bajaur Agency and Waziristan said they have been demanding their up-gradation for the last four years but their appeals have fallen on deaf ears.
The demonstrators said they had been neglected and the education department, FATA Secretariat and Ministry of States and Frontier Regions were responsible for the problem and must address the issue immediately.
They claimed tribal areas have already fallen prey to terrorism as buildings were damaged and the government had not started rehabilitation of infrastructure.
With poor building structures and lack of motivated teachers, students were suffering tremendously.
However, parents of students voiced their anger at the protests and said teachers were only concerned with money and upgradation.
They said teachers do not pay attention to the courses they teach and do not provide books to students on time. “There is no concern for hygiene at schools but the students have not protested,” a parent complained to The Express Tribune.
Khanzada Khan, a resident of Ghundai said, “The poor condition of government-run schools where teachers remained absent and lack focus forced me to enrol my children into a private school.”
Parents said students were supposed to get textbooks by March which have yet to be received. They also said teachers’ protest was jeopardising the future of their children.
When contacted, Khyber Agency Assistant Education Officer Shandi Gulm vowed to provide textbooks to students by the end of this month.
He added teachers who should be teaching are busy in protests, an act which is not part of their duty.
However, Khyber Agency Political Agent Captain Khalid Mehmood did not comment regarding the protest.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 22nd, 2016.