K-P tells education officers to punish truant teachers, students

Teachers blame government for failing to fulfil promises, warn of strikes and protests

Asad Zia April 16, 2018

PESHAWAR: The provincial education department has directed all district education officers to start taking emergency measures to assure that teachers and students meet the minimum attendance threshold at government-run schools across the province.

Schoolteachers, however, are not too happy about the directives and have warned of protests.

The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Elementary and Secondary Education Department (K-P ESED) had all districts to ensure that monthly attendance rates in government schools are at least 90 per cent for teachers and 82 per cent for students.

The letter, a copy of which is available with The Express Tribune, stated that in the event the targets are not met, the department will be forced to initiate disciplinary action against the concerned district education officer (DEO). These disciplinary measures include the deduction of a day’s salary for a DEO for each month where the target was not met.

The letter further stated that while attendance falls during March to coincide with the annual Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examinations, these actions will thus be applicable from April 2018. The DEOs were directed to take necessary actions to improve performance on the listed indicators.

Slaves to the system

K-PESED Education Adviser Ziaur Rehman told The Express Tribune that the directives and the attendance targets were all part of the District Performance Evaluation System (DPES) the provincial government had put in place to assess district performance on key education indicators, in line with the government’s education plan.

It is imperative, he said, that the system works as per the listed parameters so that a reward mechanism can be introduced for better performance.

Commenting on the DPES, he said that since implementation, improvement has been seen for a majority of the listed indicators throughout the province. However, the attendance of teachers has been lagging behind for several months.

“In order to fill this gap and improve teacher’s availability in schools, the department has taken this action and directed the DEOs to monitor the school-based teacher’s attendance,” he said. Improving teacher attendance is among the first educational reforms launched by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led government. The government resorting to the use of technological solutions ensure that that that not only teachers stopped being truant, but also came to schools on time.

A few years on, however, it seems that the government has not been able to completely fix the problem.

Meanwhile, the K-P Chief Minister Adviser on Communication Naji Ullah Khattak appreciated the K-PESED on its initiative and hoped that the action would improve teachers’ attendance.

Khattak said that teachers play a key role in the education cycle.

If a teacher is not available in school, all other facilities are meaningless for students, he said, adding that through this action, at least DEO would be prompted to take action against those teachers who not fulfil their responsibility and skip classes.

Teacher’s chagrin

On the other hand, teachers in the province are not too happy about their situation. The All Primary Teacher Association (APTA), an umbrella body for teachers, says that the government has yet to fulfil all the promises made to them.

The APTA President Azizullah Khan said that in such a scenario, they cannot trust the government. He added that teachers do not want to waste the time of students, but wrong policies of the government had compelled them to street protests.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 16th, 2018.


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