Government Girls Primary School (GGPS) Charpani in Nizampur, Nowshera has remained closed for over four months due to the absence of teachers, insiders told The Express Tribune on Sunday.
Although the provincial government has declared an education emergency, a majority of primary schools for girls in Nowshera, which is Chief Minister Pervez Khattak’s hometown, have only one teacher and two rooms to accommodate 150 to 200 students.
Ihteshamul Haq, founder of a social welfare organisation in the district, told The Express Tribune government-owned primary schools lack teachers and basic facilities, even though several complaints have been registered in this regard.
“GGPS Charpani was set up in 1984,” he said. “Initially, there were two teachers for 200 students. However, over the last four months, not a single teacher has attended school. Students come to school every morning and return home when they see the lock on the door.”
According to Haq, there is dearth of teachers at a number of girls primary schools in the district.
“GGPS in Gharib Pura has only two teachers for 250 students,” he said. “The school has only two rooms and lacks electricity and washroom facilities.”
Haq said a majority of teachers hired in these schools are from faraway areas and therefore do not regularly attend school.
An official of the district education office informed The Express Tribune teachers are running their own businesses instead of coming in to work. He has held the former district education officer, Rubina Quraishi, responsible for the absence of teachers. Quraishi was suspended three months ago and another DEO stepped in to fill her shoes.
When contacted, Nowshera DEO Muhammad Inamullah Toro admitted GGPS Charpani has been closed for the last four months.
“I recently visited various schools in the district with the chief minister. Khattak has asked us to appoint more teachers at all schools and provide them with basic facilities.”
According to Toro, efforts have been made to reopen GGPS Charpani on an urgent basis.
“New teachers have been posted at the school while all teachers who have remained absent for a long time have been suspended,” he said. “We will take action against them once we have investigated the matter.”
He announced 500 teachers will be appointed in government schools in Nowshera this month. “We have shortlisted candidates for the post and will announce our final decision soon,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 2nd, 2015.