Teachers, guns and money

Published: January 28, 2015
Teachers handle various firearms during a weapons training session for school, college and university teachers at a police training centre in Peshawar on January 27, 2015.  PHOTO: AFP

Teachers handle various firearms during a weapons training session for school, college and university teachers at a police training centre in Peshawar on January 27, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

There is a curious mix of what appears on the one hand advancement in the education set-up in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P); and on the other decidedly retrograde steps. Taking the positive first, the K-P government is planning to remove 50 per cent of the teaching cohort in government schools because of their poor performance. As the teachers are unlikely to go without making a fuss, a financial inducement to retirement may be offered in the form of a golden handshake. They will be replaced by teachers recruited through a selection process that will employ the National Testing Services (NTS) exam for which there will be a minimum 50 per cent pass mark. Currently, there are about 125,000 teachers in K-P, and around Rs93 billion have been spent in an unsuccessful attempt to bring state education on a par with the private sector. Replacing half of them is going to be a gargantuan task, and the NTS exam is to be administered to all teachers as a first step, those failing may be offered a financial inducement to leave.

This robust attempt to improve standards stands in contrast to the as yet poorly defined proposal — if there really is such a proposal — to arm K-P teachers in the hope that they will fight off any future attackers. Any such move would be both nonsensical and dangerous, and to even think that this would add anything to the overall security of the education system suggests that the person(s) so minded have not thought of the dangerous consequences that such a move could entail. Teachers must not be co-opted into a role they are unfit for. Rather than arm the teachers, the authorities need to look at how extremism may be countered, because perpetuating a toxic gun culture serves nobody; least of all children. Let us hope this idea is stillborn, unlike the proposal to test teachers. We need to get rid of the dead wood and recruit fresh and better-qualified teachers — which we warmly welcome. By all means let us improve education, but not with a Kalashnikov in the corner of the classroom.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 28th,  2015.

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Reader Comments (4)

  • Tousif Latif
    Jan 28, 2015 - 7:23AM

    Providing guns to teachers is ridiculous and makes no sense.But proposal to offer handshake to underperforming teachers is also not a very good idea .One main difference between private and government school is the medium of instruction.Government schools should immediately switch over to English medium.Now the problem arises who is going to teach the syllabus in English medium.Even the graduate being produced is not qualified enough to properly teach in English medium.We need to employ more and more teachers having masters in English and natural sciences.This all is not going to happen in one go.We should provide computer and projectors in school.In this way recorded videos can ensure quality and teacher can ensure control in the class.Overhauling the rotten system need among other things patience as well.Recommend

  • Tyggar
    Jan 28, 2015 - 3:00PM

    The next time a student does not do his homework, the teacher can pistol whip him


  • woody
    Jan 28, 2015 - 9:14PM

    Those who have combat experience will tell you that a few hours training someone how to shoot a weapon doesn’t mean they are prepared to defend your children from terrorist. It’s a terrible idea that won’t deter terrorist, won’t protect the children, and won’t provide political coverage for govt/military in the event terrorist attack school.


  • Jehanzeb Mahar
    Jan 30, 2015 - 11:30PM

    Govt has made a very commendable and bold decision by allowing the teachers to bring licensed guns to the schools in spite of nonsensical criticism by media and so called NGOs


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