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Primary school teachers deprived of facilities

ISLAMABAD: Primary education forms the basis of all future education and yet the teachers of primary schools are deprived of basic facilities.

Primary education equips students to perform well in higher classes and to opt for academic disciplines eventually.

Government officials including the State Education minister have stressed the importance of primary education while claiming that the government was taking considerable measures in this regard.

The government has allocated enough funds to expedite the education reform system across the country in general and particularly in the federal area.

The minister has mentioned huge budget allocation for education but there has been lack of planning, which is required to enhance the capacity of academic institutions which was proven as only 33 percent of the allocated Rs 6.5 billion for fiscal year 2006-07 has been utilised.

The government had since then carried out various surveys to understand the drawbacks that led the government and educationists to failure at increasing the literacy rate to an acceptable level.

The government has adopted a strategy to appoint highly qualified english teachers at primary level for capacity building of students in schools situated in suburbs of the capital city. The Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) took an initiative in this regard and has appointed 690 teachers in the last two years. Most of them had masters degree in English.

The teachers were appointed in the less developed areas of Islamabad which included Sihala, Nilor, Bara Kaho and Tarnol.

The teachers were asked to teach in the suburbs but were given no travelling allowance and no transport. They had to reach the schools for the most part on foot as they were typically at least three kilometres from the main bus stops. Most of the teachers had to spend a substantial portion of their Rs 10,000 income to reach the schools.

Moreover, there was no transfer facility available to the teachers so that they may be appointed at schools near their homes. The officials of the directorate claimed that transport would be provided to those teaching in the remote areas but that remains a pipedream.

Teachers claim they have received no increment since they were appointed.

The constant neglect of the teachers has caused them to look for alternate jobs or take on part-time tuitions to compensate for the minimal remuneration, which at the very least leaves them disinterested in the school job.

A teacher Muhammad Ali questioned the lack of increments and allowances, which seemed particularly harsh given the inflation levels. Another teacher said no scale or cadre was allocated to the english teachers. He said that if a candidate joins the FDE on contract, it means he has no benefits and no rights. Teachers also seemed afraid of their future prospects, as there are no securities as to whether these jobs will last. Moreover, if they are removed from these posts their three years of service will not count towards any government position elsewhere.

An official of the Education Department said, “The FDE has given Rs 1,000 each to the teachers in the month of September in consideration of their devoted services.”

FDE Schools Director Abdul Wahid said the directorate was trying to convince authorities to make provisions for the transport facilities and the required allowances as per regulations.

Talking about the future of the teachers, he said a comprehensive study to know the efficiency level of the teachers was to be conducted and then matters pertaining to their regularisation would be discussed.

However, he said the teachers would be asked to continue their services instead of removing them from schools whether on contract or on a regularised basis.

Source: Daily Times