Teachers being forced to work in volunteer project

ISLAMABAD, June 13(Daily Times): College teachers have been forced to teach elementary students under the Volunteer Teachers Programme (VTP) arranged by the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE), sources said.

The three-week programme was launched on June 6 to coach elementary students in science subjects and English during the summer vacations.

Sources in the directorate said that teachers had not volunteered themselves for the programme, as the directorate had asked college principles to nominate teachers for the programme.

"We have been directed to teach the students according to the instructions of school teachers that makes it pretty difficult for us to teach the students," a lecturer told Daily Times, pleading anonymity.

He said focus of the programme was on English reading and writing. He said three weeks were not enough to cover the course, as it would leave the students confused.

He said the programme was launched at an inopportune time, as sizzling heat was keeping most of the students from attending the course. He said they were not being given the traveling or boarding allowance (TA/DA), adding that the teachers, who had taken classes in 2002, were yet to be reimbursed. He said getting TA/DA from the directorate involved a lengthy procedure that no one could afford.

The programme had been launched in 2002 and 16 schools were selected in this connection, while 1,400 students attended special classes during the summer vacations.

Sources said that this year almost 3,000 students had been selected for the VTP. The syllabus for the programme has been devised in consultation with the teachers of the schools from where the students have been selected. The syllabus addresses the areas where the students have been found to be weak.

Sources said that students had not been asked to go to other schools for attending the course, rather teachers and VTAs had been asked to perform their duties at the selected schools.

They said the FDE's decision to coach students in the summer was "beyond comprehension", as cases of heatstroke were increasing in the capital like other parts of the country. They said recurring power breakdowns were also causing inconvenience to students.

Director Model Colleges, Samina Nadeem, told Daily Times that teachers had volunteered themselves for the programme of their own volition and the FED had also provided them with transport facility.



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