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Query on Shortage of teachers in NWFP schools

Lawmakers asked to provide details about shortage of teachers
Peshawar, Oct 7: The ruling Awami National Party seems failing its popular promise of providing pen and book to every child in the NWFP as an acute shortage of teaching staff and other basic facilities haunts schools in the province.

That was what the party's own lawmaker Khushdil Khan drove at during the question-answer session in the NWFP Assembly here on Tuesday. The department of elementary and secondary education, which manages affairs of nearly 27,000 public sector institutes in the province, also admitted shortage of teachers.

The mover pointed out that 19 schools were functioning without principals in his constituency of PF-10 (Peshawar).

He said more than 400 posts of different grades were lying vacant in 186 schools in the area. He was of the view that girls' schools were in bad condition and high-ups of the department concerned did not bother to visit schools.

He shouted at NWFP Education Minister Sardar Hussain Babak when he asked lawmakers to provide details about shortage of teachers in black and white, instead of delivering long speeches and levelling allegations.

"This is the responsibility of secretary, deputy secretary, directors and other officers of the education department to collect data about vacant posts and other issues related with schools. We are not government servants to collect details from each and every school," Mr Khushdil Khan retorted.

Mr Babak admitted that thousands of posts of different categories were vacant and requisition had been filed to the provincial Public Service Commission for recruiting 3,747 senior teachers to fill the posts of principals and headmasters in the province.

He said the government had appointed 2,799 senior science teachers and 847 subject specialists on contract, assuring the legislators that the commission would be requested to expedite the process of selection.

Speaker Kiramatullah Khan Chagharmati referred the question to the house's committee concerned after detailed discussion on the state of schools, shortage of schools and the deteriorating education system.

Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said the education sector could not progress as the previous provincial government had recruited teachers who had failed their matriculation examinations. "How the standard of education will improve when people who had not even done matriculation were appointed as teachers in primary schools," he remarked. Another MPA from the ruling party, Saqibullah Khan Chamkani, expressed concern over the state of affairs of public sector schools in the PF-11 constituency of Peshawar.

He said some schools were short of teaching staff and others were overstaffed in the area.

According to PPP parliamentary leader Abdul Akbar Khan, teachers serving in public sector educational institutes preferred to get appointed in Peshawar because of incentives.

"This practice causes shortage of teachers in rural areas, putting the future of thousands of children at stake," he observed.

MPA Abdul Sattar, hailing from the Kohistan district, through a supplementary question raised the issue of shortage of teachers in his area. He said the government had recruited teachers against vacant posts in Kohistan, but after three months they were transferred to the neighbouring districts.

Opposition leader Akram Khan Durrani said the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal government had chalked out a formula for recruitment of teachers in primary schools under which 75 per cent of vacant seats were to be filled on union council basis and 25 per cent on merit. The present government, he added, had changed that formula.

PPP-S parliamentary leader Sikandar Khan Sherpao, Mohammad Ali Khan, Pervez Khan, Zahir Shah of the PML and Mohammad Zamin Khan of the PPP expressed concern over postings and transfers of teachers on political grounds. They demanded that such practices should be discouraged. Dawn


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Teachers protest regularisation of colleagues
Peshawar: Teachers of government-run schools staged protest demonstrations throughout the Frontier province on Tuesday for acceptance of their demands.

Protests were held in several cities of the NWFP including Peshawar, Mardan, Nowshera, Batkhela, Dir, Swabi and other districts.

In Peshawar, the protesting teachers were holding banners and placards inscribed with slogans for acceptance of their demands. The protestors were raising slogans in favour of their demands, urging the government to accept the charter of demands otherwise they would announce a series of protests.

Demands of the teachers included approval of service structure, increments to master degree holder teachers, increments for untrained teachers, provision of teaching allowance, raise in medical allowance, and quota for the children of teachers in educational institutes. The protesters were led by office-bearers of the Muttahida Mahaz Asatiza NWFP.

Teachers of the Lower Dir warned to close all government-run schools in the district on the call of their provincial leadership if the NWFP government failed to reverse the decision of regularisation of ad hoc and contract teachers in the province.

The warning was given during a protest rally held at Balambat. It was organised by the Muttahida Mahaz Asatiza. The rally was attended by hundreds of senior schoolteachers from different parts of the district.

Protesters chanted slogans against the provincial government and education minister. They were carrying banners and placards inscribed with demands including withdrawal of the decision of regularisation of ad hoc and contract teachers.

Different teachers' organisations alleged that provincial government was regularising ad hoc and contract teachers violating the merit policy. They complained that in-service trained and qualified senior teachers were being denied departmental promotions.

The teachers threatened to close schools in the province if the government did not reverse its decision. They also called upon the lawmakers to play their role in this regard.

Teachers from Laki Marwat held a protest demonstration here and marched from the Kargil Chowk to the press club. The teachers said that the policies of the government had spread unrest among the teachers. The rulers had usurped the rights of promotion of in-service teachers, they alleged. "This is injustice with the teachers," a speaker said, calling upon the government to repeal the regularisation decision of contract and ad hoc teachers.

Swabi teachers and their leaders have vowed that they would continue their struggle till achievement of their objectives. A protest rally was held in Shahmansoor which was attended by a large number of teachers.

The teachers vowed to work jointly against the 'step-motherly' attitude of the government. They said that the government had utterly failed to resolve their problems. They condemned the regularisation of over 2,000 teachers allegedly without tests and interviews.

Mardan teachers staged a protest rally in front of the press club. Addressing on the occasion, speakers demanded badge-wise method of appointments regarding senior English teachers and subject specialists. They said third division for the post of Qaris should be abolished. The news


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Students on peace mission
Hunza: Two young students, Asghar and Ejaz Roomi, from Sost, Gojal embarked on a 'peace mission' on Monday from the Khunjerab Pass on the Pakistan-China border to Karachi to spread the message of peace, unity and love across Pakistan.

A large number of people from the nearby towns were present in Khunjerab despite cold weather. The pass received 6 inches of snow as winter starts to set in in the area. This walk will conclude in Karachi.

A huge crowd welcomed the walkers in Sost and Gircha on Monday. The crowd appreciated their mission for peace.

Talking to this scribe, the walkers said that the people of Pakistan were very peaceful but different external elements were responsible for the present situation.

They said through this walk they will spread the prime message of Islam which is peace. Dawn


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Release of two Dir youths from Indian jail demanded
Peshawar: The elders of two youngsters from Kalakot tehsil of Dir district have appealed to the Indian government to release their innocent sons, who crossed the Line of Control and landed in jail.

Gohar Rehman, 22, and Ameer Badshah, 23, both from Biyar village, Dir Upper, have been languishing in Block-B, Bark No 6 with pin code 181122 and Block No: F-22 in Kot Bilwal Jail, Jammu, respectively, for the last one year. Both the cousins were working as cook and clerk in a road project in Azad Jammu Kashmir.

They were arrested by the Indian army when they crossed the Line of Control by mistake. An Indian court jailed them for one year for not possessing the legal travel documents. After their arrest, they informed their families through a letter, which they received from Central Jail, Kot Bilwal, Jammu, India.

The families lost contact with both of them despite the fact their jail term ended on September 22, 2009 and since then the entire families, particularly the ailing and aging mothers of the ill-fated boys were leading a miserable life and going through mental distress.

The elders appealed to president and prime minister, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), Ansar Burney, Red Cross and others bodies to help their children, who had gone from their less developed village to earn a living for their poor families but landed in jail. The news


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