RAWALPINDI: The Lahore High Court (LHC) Rawalpindi bench on Tuesday suspended the Punjab education department’s reallocation policy after petitioners challenged it.
Under the policy, each section at primary, elementary and secondary education level will have one teacher for a class of 40 students.
LHC Judge Sohaib Saeed suspended the policy and sought replies from Punjab School Education Department (SED) Secretary Abdul Jabbar Shaheen, Education Executive District Officer (EDO) Qazi Zahoorul Haq, Rawalpindi District Coordination Officer (DCO) Sajid Zafar Dal and Rawalpindi Commissioner Zahid Saeed.
The court directed the officials to formulate a new policy and submit a detailed report in two weeks. The petition was filed by 20 teachers from Rawalpindi district through Punjab Teachers Union (PTU) President Raja Shahid Mubarik.
The petitioners’ counsel, Noor Khan, maintained that in March, the provincial government had transferred more than 500 teachers under the reallocation policy.
According to the policy, each section will have one teacher for a class of 40 students. However, he argued that the policy had affected teachers as it increased their workload.
Khan contended that under the 40:1 ratio, schools that had less than 40 students per class would get fewer teachers. Teachers argue that it was difficult for them to focus on 40 students at the same time.
The counsel informed the court that 60 teachers from Taxila Tehsil, 89 from Kallar Syedan, 90 from Kotli Sattian, 85 from Kahuta Tehsil and 200 from Gujar Khan were transferred under the policy.
Khan argued that in primary schools in the country, on average, one teacher was teaching a class of more than 40 students, which was against international standards. He said Maldives, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and India had a better teacher-student ratio in classrooms.
The counsel said that in 2009, the LHC had ordered that each class should have one teacher, irrespective of enrolment. However, the provincial government has ignored the court order while implementing its policy.
The teachers also said that the government did not take them onboard while hashing out the policy.
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