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Over 2,000 teachers' posts vacant in Pindi: 140 schools without headmasters

Rawalpindi, April 01, 2008: As many as 2,500 posts of teachers in primary and middle schools in Rawalpindi district are lying vacant while 140 out of 266 high schools are without headmasters causing adverse effects on the careers of the students who were dreaming of a 'Parha Likha Punjab'.

The vacant posts in both girls and boys schools include 1,032 of primary teachers course (PTC), 246 elementary school teachers, 100 senior vernaculars, 264 English teachers, 47 oriental teachers, 120 Arabic teachers, 159 physical educations tutors and about 200 SST.

Official sources in the administration section of the education department said on Monday that majority of the teachers, both males and females, were needed in primary schools while in many institutions a single tutor was handling over 50 children due to dearth of academic staff.

The sources said former Punjab government had banned appointment of regular teachers across the province under the contract policy, resulting in acute shortage of staff.

The sources said under the slogan of Parha Likha Punjab, the authorities had constructed school buildings and distributed some textbooks among students. However, they did not pay any attention on appointment of schoolteachers and the issue continued to deteriorate.

"A new school building without adequate teaching staff is meaningless. Dozens of schools in Kalar Syedan and Kahuta towns are practically closed due to shortage of teaching staff," he added.

Executive District Officer (education) Chaudhry Yousuf confirmed that over 2,500 posts of teaching staff were lying vacant while 140 high schools were without head teachers.

He said the situation was grave in rural and remote areas like Kotli Sattian, Kalar Syedan and Murree, where a single teacher was covering over 80 students.

Education experts attributed the shortage of teaching staff to the qualification criteria fixed by the former provincial government in the contract policy and to the ban on regular appointment of teachers.

Under the contract policy, a local teacher should be appointed as tutor in the respective institution on a contract basis. But interestingly, the authorities did not ponder how a teacher would be appointed in case there was no local person available in the area.

The EDO suggested that the condition of higher educational qualification for the post of contract teachers should be abolished to encourage graduates and other degree holders to apply for the posts in order to fill the vacancies.

Mr Yousuf said he had talked to provincial authorities about the shortage of teachers, adding City Nazim Raja Javed Ikhlas had also been informed about the issue. He said now all hopes were pinned on the new government to resolve the problem.

The EDO said Rawalpindi had the highest literacy ratio in Punjab; however, he feared that the shortage of teaching staff could badly affect the ranking of the district.

Mr Yousuf said the priority task of the district administration in the new setup should be the appointment of teaching staff. Dawn
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