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2,728 teachers' posts vacant in Pindi district schools

RAWALPINDI, Aug 23: As many as 2,728 posts of teachers are lying vacant in various schools of Rawalpindi district, Education Executive District Officer Chaudhry Muhammad Yousaf said here on Wednesday.

"The posts include 296 of grade 17 and above and 2,432 of grade 11 to 16," said Yousaf. He said there were 47 schools of the Tehsil Municipal Corporation and 2,430 schools of the Punjab government in the district. The headmaster of a government school on the condition of anonymity said that due to the shortage of teachers, students were suffering as existing teachers had not been able to pay due attention to the extra classes. He said many students were complaining that the syllabus would not be completed in time. He said the teachers' shortage had increased the load on other teachers, adding that in the absence of any extra benefit, the teachers had lost interest in additional classes. He said employees of international or private organisations were being paid for extra work, but no financial benefits were being given to teachers of government schools. He said the shortage of teachers was acute in rural areas because teachers were not ready to serve there.

Mehmood Ahmed, a teacher at Maloot Satian, said that educated males did not join the profession due to the low salaries being offered. He said the teachers were being recruited on a contract basis against Rs 5,000 salary per month without any facilities. "There are no incentives for teachers in rural areas," he said, adding that in cities, regular teachers were being paid 45 percent of the basic salary as house rent allowance, while in rural areas, it was 30 percent. Yousaf said the Punjab Public Service Commission would make appointments for posts of grade 17 and above, while the district government would make appointments for other posts. He said the district government had formed a committee for the recruitments of grade 11-16 teachers and District Coordination Officer (DCO) Irfan Elahi was its chairman. He said the DCO had promised to take up the issue of shortage of teachers with the high command.

Elahi said that last year, they had filled only 50 percent of the vacant posts in schools, but as more teachers had been retired this year and many were transferred to other districts, the number of vacancies had increased. "Two weeks ago, I wrote to Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi about the vacant posts and upon his positive response we will fill them," he said.

According to a report of the Centre for Peace and Development Initiative, out of the Rs 6,560 million allocated for development projects in Financial Year 2006-07, the Education Division was able to utilise only Rs 1,281 million by the end of March 2007. Hence, the total spending in nine months was only 20 percent of the total allocation, which had exposed the government's tall claims that it was spending more funds on the education sector. The report said that by the end of March 2007, the total amount released to the Education Division was Rs 2,124 million. The report further states that the poor performance of the Education Division has already prompted the authorities concerned to substantially revise the original PSDP allocation of Rs 6,560 million for 2006-07. At the time of the Mid Year Review, this allocation was revised down to Rs 4,948 million, while Rs 1314 million were surrendered to the Economic Affairs Division (EAD).

Mehboob Sada, an educationist, said that the government was allocating more funds for the education sector. She said the funds were increasing every year, but the problem was that the officials did not know where to spend the funds. Daily times
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