An acute shortage of teachers in Lower Dir is forcing students to either move to other districts to continue their studies or more alarmingly, quit studying altogether.
With the future of hundreds of students at stake, the elders in Mayar, Jandol and Samar Bagh have expressed grave concern over the issue, reportedly asking the authorities to address this problem on multiple occasions to provide teaching staff for schools and colleges.
Muhammad Iqbal, an elder from Samar Bagh, said that they no longer have the privilege of employing teachers based on their qualifications. They employ whoever is available for the position.
Fazal Rabbi, a third year student at Samar Bagh Degree College for Boys, said that due to the lack of teachers, students would either sit in the canteen or play in the college grounds. With no one to take attendance, some students are working while still being enrolled at the college.
“There’s just one class in the entire day and very few students attend it,” Fazal told The Express Tribune, adding that most of the teachers were on leave while others would not show up to teach. Fazal said that his degree will be useless and he should start a business instead. “No one will accept a degree from a college reputed to be without any teachers.”
A female Urdu teacher at Government Girls High School in Munda tehsil said that in the area, no schools were meeting educational standards, and all the girls’ schools were facing shortage of teaching staff. “Just two schools in the tehsil have science teachers.” she said.
Lal Faqir, a senior teacher at Government High School in Mayar said that he was educating children from the area for the last 28 years. Due to the unavailability of teachers, his school had stopped teaching Physics, English, Pakistan Studies and Health and Physical Education. “For the past year the principal’s seat has been vacant.” Faqir said.
Executive District Officer (EDO) of education, Mutahir Shah, who remained absent from his duties for nearly 40 days since he was offering Hajj, said that he was not responsible for appointing teachers in the schools above scale-15.
“We had given the provincial education department a deadline for hiring teachers above the 15th scale till December. They could not propose a single teacher’s name,” Shah said.
However, the EDO said that they had advertised teaching posts in the newspaper two months ago and had received applications from the area. The merit list will be displayed in two weeks and new teachers will be hired in few months.
Provincial director of elementary and secondary education Farid Khattak said, “After militancy in the region, most of the educated people have migrated to other cities for better opportunities.” He said adding that they do not have funds for new posts especially for posts above scale 16.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 18th, 2012.