KP school enrollment drive suffers as teachers protest

PHOTO: FILE
PESHAWAR: The recent teachers’ protest across Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) for increasing their salaries and other demands is having a detrimental effect on the provincial government’s school enrollment campaign.

The initiative aims to ensure maximum enrollment of out-of-school children in all public and private schools. The government has taken the step to increase the literacy rate across K-P.

The enrollment campaign was launched on April 8. The government has set a target of enrolling 900,000 children this year.

However, the initiative has failed to achieve the desired results so far because of teachers’ lack of interest. The All Teachers Coordination Council (ATCC) has staged province-wide protests to pressure the government to meet its demands.

Its seven demands include increasing the basic pay scale of senior science teachers and allocating a quota for the sons of deceased teachers.

The ATCC protests were able to draw thousands of teachers to its demonstrations in Mardan, Nowshera, Charsadda and Swabi.

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ATCC provincial spokesperson Azizullah Khan told The Express Tribune that a huge protest had been planned in Peshawar on April 20. Khan added that they expected 50,000 protesters to participate in the demonstration.

The spokesperson added that if their demands were not met, they would continue their protests and even boycott classes. Khan said in the midst of the protests, teachers were disinterested in the enrollment campaign and that had badly affected the initiative.

He said if the government was serious about the campaign it should first address the teachers’ issues. Khan added that if the government refused to listen to their demands, a successful campaign could not go ahead without their support.

K-P school enrollment campaign’s focal person Jamil-u-Din Khan told The Express Tribune that 700,000 students were enrolled through last year’s drive . He said the focus this year was to convince parents to make their children go to school, especially girls and those living in rural areas.
“So far, not even a single case of a teacher denying student enrollment has been reported,” he added.

He said if there were such a case, the government would take action against the teacher.

To a question on the teachers’ issue, he said the government had planned to sit with ATCC representatives to resolve the impasse.

By Asad Zia Published in Express Tribune

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