Schoolteachers in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa have urged the government to pay attention to their problems and to review the rationalisation policy for schools.
During an event held to commemorate Salam Teachers Day at a local hotel on Tuesday, teachers asked the PTI-led provincial government to fulfil their demands of increasing their pay with time, and to review the new rationalisation policy. The event was organised by a non-profit organisation, Alif Ailaan.
Addressing participants of the gathering, All Primary Teachers Association President Malik Khalid said their routine work is being disturbed by education officers who visit schools and interrupt teachers to probe them regarding their teaching methods. He said that on the one hand the government claims that teachers play a pivotal role in making the children’s futures bright, while on the other hand these teachers are deprived of their rights.
In some schools, he said, there are only two or three teachers for 800 students while a majority of schools in the province have no basic facilities for the students. “The government should focus on fulfilling their basic responsibilities.”
The government has chalked out a rationalisation policy for schools according to which the students to teacher ratio in schools should be 40:1 and teachers of all districts would be transferred and posted to areas which they belong to and which are mentioned on their domiciles. Transfers to any other area are banned as per the policy.
On the occasion, Alif Ailaan Provincial Coordinator Omar Orakzai said there are 1.4 million schoolteachers in Pakistan at present and a majority of them are not happy with their profession as they are deprived of their rights. He added that in K-P around 2.5 million children are out of schools and many of the schools lack basic services such as water, washrooms, boundary walls and most important of all, teachers.
Orakzai urged the teachers to fulfil their responsibility and focus on their job. He said some teachers are often busy in political activities and urge the students to do the same. He asked the teachers to give more time to students and make sure that they focus on their studies because their parents send them to schools to acquire an education.
K-P standing committee chairman Arif Muhammad Zai was also present on the occasion. He said the PTI government has been focusing on improving health and education so the current budget has doubled the provision for these two fields.
About the rationalisation policy, he said the provincial government announced this policy initially for Peshawar, Charsadda, Nowshera, Mardan and Swabi, but it will further extend the policy throughout the province. He said that under the new policy, teachers will get promotions and incentives based on the exam results of students. He added that to fill vacant posts in schools, the government has hired 1,700 teachers on the basis of merit in various districts.
Zai blamed the previous government for appointing, promoting and transferring teachers on the basis of favouritism.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 29th, 2014.