Translating the slogan, ‘Education first’ into reality requires a lot of work
PESHAWAR: Education is a fundamental right of every citizen and the constitutional responsibility of every government. Education plays a key role in the development of any nation. For the promotion of education, our government has established many schools throughout the country. However, due to the lack of government attention, these schools are not functioning properly in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) owing to academically weak teachers and teacher absenteeism.
According to a recent survey by Alif Ailaan in K-P, 44 per cent of teachers report having passed only the intermediate or matriculation levels while in Balochistan, only 46 per cent of teachers in private schools have an intermediate or matriculation certificate. How is it possible for these teachers to teach matric level biology, chemistry and physics? Realistically, the majority of government school students are unable to read an English newspaper after matriculation. Governments must hire teachers through the National Testing Service if they want to improve the systems. Similarly, the majority of government schools lack basic facilities. There are no proper arrangements for drinking water and toilets in schools.
In my district Lakki Marwat, there are 54 boys’ middle schools and 43 for girls. The large number of schools has resulted in low class sizes. The teachers are exploiting their students and using them for labour in tasks like constructing homes for them. In other cases, teachers have hired private teachers to substitute for them at government schools, while they carry out their private businesses.
The claims of a ‘new K-P’ cannot materialise without concrete and practical steps with across-the-board accountability. Translating the slogan, ‘Education first’ into reality requires a lot of work.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 12th, 2017.
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