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Package for Punjab teachers

Lahore, Sep 4: THE long-awaited package of teachers' salaries and allowances, announced by Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi at Lahore on Sunday, is a commendable step that should provide them considerable relief. According to some reports, the financial and career benefits that will accrue from it even exceeded their otherwise modest expectations. The package will add Rs 33.90 million to the province's annual budget on education and entail a one-time expenditure of Rs 500 million on the grant of one advance increment. The drive towards 'parha likha Punjab' under which at present 600,000 students in private schools are getting free books and free education will be stepped up to cover one million such students. Besides, the government is adopting the idea of integrating teachers' training and to work out the nitty-gritty a high-level committee has been formed.

That brings up the vital question of educational standards. It hardly needs pointing out that the standard of teaching in the country, thanks to poorly qualified, incompetent and indifferent schoolmasters, has fallen extremely low. The situation in higher institutions of learning is not much better either. Coupled with this, the outdated methods of teaching and learning and the pervasive student indiscipline, have wrought havoc with the final product: the stuff that comes out of traditional schools. The package should serve as an incentive to teachers to deliver their part of the bargain. That would earn them respect in society that they traditionally enjoyed.

It is unfortunate that over the years indiscipline among students has become widespread, not only contributing to the declining educational standards but also making for disrespect to the teacher. Things have reached such a pass that educational experts should put their heads together to look into this unhealthy phenomenon. Whether it is a result of blindly aping the Western practices or an outgrowth of the prevailing social trends and pressures in the country, it is time to set things right. There is need to make the parents more mindful of careful handling of their wards in the early years of their lives that neither inhibits their instinct of taking the initiative nor give them too much freedom of choice that could lead them astray.The nation

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