Future in jeopardy: Persistent teacher absenteeism at girls school

Published: September 15, 2015
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PESHAWAR: The Government Girls Primary School Masterano Kalley, located in Mera Surizai, Badhabher remains padlocked doors. Its students play in a nearby building while sacks of potatoes lie in its corridors and dogs and spiders inhabit its five classrooms.

Education is perhaps the single most crucial factor for the development and progress of any nation. It not only creates a more literate workforce but also more educated and more aware parents. Negligence regarding female education needs to cease since women are equal, perhaps, even more responsible for the upbringing of a new generation. Unfortunately, however, girls from the provincial metropolis are deprived of education due to an absolute dearth of teachers.

Bleak future

Talking to The Express Tribune, Faiza, a seven-year-old student at the Government Girls Primary School said, “We go to school every day but our teacher only comes on Saturdays.”

Raheela, 12, expressed a desire of becoming a schoolteacher but added, “I don’t think it’ll be possible since my teachers never come to teach me.” Tayyaba, a student of Grade-I, said, “Our teacher told us that she has been posted to another school and someone else will come to teach us but the school is still locked.”

Sardar Hussain, who lives in the school’s vicinity, said the school building was constructed in 1997, and then reconstructed in 2013 when Provincial Assembly Deputy Speaker Advocate Khushdil Khan spent Rs6.12 million in order to extend it. “Despite the effort to revamp the school, teachers do not come in to work which creates a very bleak future for the children,” he said.

The absence of teachers has resulted in parents taking their children out from the school. “The ratio of enrolled students has declined tremendously now,” Hussain added. “Since 2006, it became a routine activity for teachers to come to school for around four days each month.” Hussain explained that most children have said farewell to education while some parents who could afford to send their children to private schools have enrolled them there.

The other side

When contacted, Secondary Establishment Assistant District Education Officer (DEO) Shahida, denied all this information and said, “We monitor teachers’ activity regularly. Strict action is taken against those teachers who are found to be negligent.” She also said that Independent Monitoring Unit (IMU) apprises them on a daily basis and departmental action is taken immediately when problems are reported.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 15th,  2015.

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