The rough terrain of certain districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) is daunting to traverse on at the best of times. However, women in Upper Dir, Lower Dir, Kohistan, Bunner, Shangla, Torghar, Lakki Marwat, Hangu and Swat have to travel up to eight kilometres along these perilous routes on a daily basis as their teaching careers depend on it.
Some areas even lack transport facilities and women have to reach their respective schools on foot. Alif Ailaan Regional Coordinator Umar Orakzai tells The Express Tribune around 33% of the teachers in the mentioned districts perform their duties at schools far away from home. Orakzai says teachers were initially appointed on a district-wise basis and were placed in schools far from their homes.
Gulikhandana, a teacher from Swat, says teachers were appointed from a different district in many cases and she cites that as one of the main reason they arrived late to work.
A teacher from Upper Dir, Basmeena Bibi, says she belongs to Dir City while her appointment is in Kohistan. “Having to travel six to eight kilometres is hell.” She adds there are no hostel facilities for women and the men of their families frown upon them staying away from home.
However, there seems to be some hope for them as K-P Elementary and Secondary Education Director Rafiq Khattak assures new teachers will be placed in schools nearest to their homes. He said around 5,000 teachers were appointed through the National Testing Service and the entry form allowed them to specify their five nearest schools.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 16th, 2015.