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Girls suffer as 50 schools closed in rural Peshawar

By: Mohammad Ashfaq

PESHAWAR: Angered by closure of primary girls schools in Peshawar’s rural areas due to unavailability of teachers, the provincial assembly’s standing committee on law reforms on Friday directed the elementary and secondary education department to post teaching staff to these educational institutions within a week.

It warned that if the sought-after appointments weren’t made within the stipulated period, punitive action would be taken against the culpable officials under the Privileges Act.

According to a source in the E&SE department, around 50 government girls’ primary schools have been shut down in Peshawar, mostly in Matani, Badhber, Urmar, Garhi Atta Mohmmad and Adezai areas, due to unavailability of teachers, while many boys and girls primary schools faced shortage of teaching staff.

Speaker of the assembly Kiramatullah Chagharmatti chaired the standing committee meeting, while deputy speaker Khushdil Khan, MPAs Abdul Akbar Khan, Saqibullah Chamkani, Israrullah Gandapur, Munawar Khan and Hafiz Akhtar Ali, E&SE special secretary Farid Qureshi and other relevant officials were in attendance.

Lawmakers asked E&SE officials about reasons for closure of the girls primary schools in Peshawar’s rural areas.

The assembly speaker asked if there were no educated people for appointment as teachers to these educational institutions.

An official said schools in Peshawar’s urban areas had teachers surplus to requirements, while schools in rural areas faced shortage of teaching staff.

A news release issued here said: “the speaker directed the E&SE department to immediately transfer surplus teachers and depute them in the closed schools. He said E&SE department and district coordination officer (DCO) Peshawar should jointly implement the rationalisation policy setting aside political pressure.”

The committee also issued directions to the relevant authorities for making the education department in Peshawar a model department for other districts.

The education department was told to repatriate teachers serving in Peshawar’s schools ‘in detail’ to original places of their postings, while directions were issued to such teachers to report back within a week to prevent action under the Privilege Act.

The source the education department introduced the rationalisation policy in the province more than a year ago to reopen all closed schools by streamlining teachers’ posting and transfer. However, he added, it couldn’t deliver the goods due to the department’s inefficiency.

In May 2011, the provincial assembly made a law ‘The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Appointment, Deputation, Posting and Transfer of Teachers, Lecturers, Instructors and Doctors) Regulatory Bill-2011′ which couldn’t be implemented in primary schools.

The rationalisation policy set teacher-student ratio at 1:40, according to an educationist, who have served on key positions in education department.

He said teachers went all-out for their transfer to urban area schools either for 15 per cent more house rent than what is being offered to those serving in rural areas or for security reasons.

The educationist said schools in Peshawar’s rural areas needed appointment of 600 male and 400 female teachers.

The standing committee also directed the law department to produce a detailed report in its next meeting on matters related to the departments devolved to provinces under the 18th constitutional amendment as well as pending legislation.

Source: Dawn