Terrorised teachers

The Taliban may have been vanquished but they still lurk ominously in many areas.

Editorial April 22, 2011

The Taliban may have been vanquished but they still lurk ominously in many areas, perhaps waiting for an opportunity to strike back. Warnings of this have come in from many places. But what is as dangerous as the militants themselves is the dark legacy they leave behind. Classrooms in many parts of the conflict zone stand vacant — teachers are no longer willing to teach because of the threats meted out in the past. A report in this publication spoke of a group of veiled teachers in Swat who were threatened with knives by militants during their reign over that region. The trauma has meant all but one of the teachers has given up the profession.

There are many others like them. Reports coming in mention continued threats, schools are still being blown up and international humanitarian agencies say the existing security situation further holds back education, especially for girls. This is nothing less than a disaster in a part of the world where barely three percent of women are literate, according to official figures for Fata. NGOs active in the area believe the actual rate could be even lower.

The Taliban have left behind deep shadows that continue to darken the lives of the people. A vigorous effort needs to be made to drive these shadows away. The fear of people that the militants will return needs to be eradicated. The best way of doing so is to work towards development and to actively promote education. Programmes of this nature have been highly successful in some regions. It is vital that they be expanded; offering literacy to women is important to the uplift of communities. This, in turn, can happen only if teachers can be persuaded to return to the classrooms and, by doing so, also help dispel the fear that exists among both female pupils and their parents, preventing many from continuing the learning that is crucial both to their own future and to their communities.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 23rd, 2011.


kingkong | 10 years ago | Reply Taliban is the pest that needs to be wiped out before it wipes out humanity in Pakistan.
TightDhoti | 10 years ago | Reply The Taliban are even more dangerous now. First they were relying on sheer brutality before the populace to null the people of Swat to accept their rule. Now by threating teachers they are possibly insuring the impact of there draconian ways passes from generation to generation.
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