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Government high schools for girls face shortage of teachers

Islamabad: One in every 10 sanctioned teaching posts in monitored government girls’ high schools is lying vacant nationwide, where one teacher has to teach, on an average, 33 girls. Among the monitored schools, 55 per cent did not have a library and 43 per cent had no playgrounds.

The government needs to ensure the availability of staff and facilities for the education of female students in the country, says Fafen Education Institution Monitor released here on Monday.

Fafen Governance Monitors visited 61 government girls’ high schools in 46 districts across the country in February 2011. As many as 36 schools were visited in 25 districts of Punjab, 12 in 11 districts of Sindh, 11 in eight districts of KP and two in as many districts of Balochistan.

As many as 1,493 teaching posts were sanctioned in the monitored schools, of which 1,347 were occupied, leaving 10 per cent of the sanctioned posts vacant. As for the non-teaching posts, on average, 11 per cent of the sanctioned posts were lying vacant across the country. The highest percentage of vacant teaching (29 per cent) and the non-teaching (18 per cent) posts was observed in the monitored schools of Sindh. The highest teacher-student ratio was also observed in Sindh, where one teacher was responsible to teach 45 students.

Physical education is as important for the students as curricular activities, but little attention is paid to the physical activities of girls in government girls’ high schools, as 43 per cent of the monitored schools did not have playgrounds and 36 per cent lacked a physical training instructor. Thirty four of the monitored 61 schools (55 per cent) did not have a library for the high school girl students. This becomes more important in light of the fact that relatively lesser boys’ high schools, run by the state, lack a library. According to Fafen observation of 50 government boys’ high schools in January 2011, 62 per cent of schools had a library. Such gender disparity in similar institutions reflects the gender insensitivity on the part of the policymakers. Like playgrounds and libraries, many schools were lacking even the basic amenities like arrangements for clean drinking water. In 11 per cent of the monitored schools, no such arrangements were in place.

However, general building and sanitation conditions in the monitored girls’ high schools were satisfactory. With the exception of one school monitored in Sindh, classrooms of all the monitored schools were found to be clean. Almost all monitored girls’ high schools were housed in a proper building and had a boundary wall around them. Despite secure buildings, 43% monitored schools did not have a security guard, despite constant threats to schools in the country in general and girls’ schools in particular, especially in regions under conflict, like KP, Fata and Balochistan.

Despite good building infrastructure, around one-fourth (23 per cent) of the monitored schools lacked chairs and tables for students while 16 per cent lacked this arrangement for teachers. A black/white board was present in the classrooms of all the monitored schools except one each in Sindh, KP and Balochistan.

While the attendance of teachers in monitored schools on the day of Fafen observation was satisfactory, the students’ attendance was relatively low. The lower attendance of the students can be attributable to the weak administration of the schools in general. However, in conflict regions the security threats to female students may be a factor deterring the parents from sending their daughters to schools.

The absence of many essential facilities and issues like vacant posts and/or low attendance of students and teachers in monitored girls’ high schools can be due to a severe lack of public and government oversight of the schools.

Source: The News

Date:4/5/2011

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