SHABQADAR: Teachers from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas protested at D-Chowk, Islamabad over their long-standing demand for upgradation.
“Our strike has been going on for quite some time and since then schools in FATA are closed, affecting the studies of thousands of students,” FATA Teachers Association General Secretary Mujahid Khan Mohmand told The Express Tribune in Shabqadar. “Our demand is very simple.”
‘Us and them’
He added the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government upgraded in 2012 its teachers, but those working in Fata as employees of the K-P government have remained deprived of upgradation, although they are funded by Ministry of States and Frontier Regions.
In K-P, he added, primary schoolteachers have been promoted to middle school while the latter are moved to the post of secondary school teachers, but the teachers of Fata are denied such privileges. Mujahid Khan decried the policies of the FATA Secretariat for delays in their upgradation and promotion.
Rendered deaf ear
He added they all [teachers of Fata] have been trying to hold a strike in Islamabad from the last 15 days as the government would not cater to their reservations. He added hundreds of teachers, mostly from Mohmand and Khyber agencies, are part of the strike. “Even FATA parliamentarians and lawmakers from various political parties have shown solidarity with us, but no one from the [federal] government has turned up to hear us.”
Students at loss
Mujahid Khan expressed his displeasure over students suffering because of the protest. “The government does not value students of Fata,” he said.
According to Mujahid, the governor of K-P has initiated an enrolment drive in Fata, starting April and it had to go on till May 30, but that too would be affected because of the strikes.
He also criticised the role of the electronic media, saying it covers each and every event that happens in Islamabad, but was ignoring the teachers from the tribal areas.
Talking about their next plan, he said they would protest outside the Parliament House starting next week and would stay there till their demands are fulfilled.
On the other hand, parents in Fata have demanded schools in Fata be reopened and books be distributed among students as the new academic year has started there.
Malik Ataullah Tarakzai, a resident of Mohmand Agency, said on the one hand the government has closed 94 schools in Mohmand Agency under its rationalisation policy while the teachers strike is another blow to the system of education in the tribal areas. “Therefore, the government should act on the issue as Fata has already suffered a lot at the hands of militancy.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 6th, 2016.
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