Bringing fresh blood to the education sector on merit, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has taken a significant step by allocating about 14pc of its budget on education.
The government also prioritized health, police and land settlement reforms in the province. To conduct the examination of a new cadre of teachers, the government tasked the National Testing Service (NTS) to screen candidates for upholding merit. The NTS after the first experience of conducting test for Senior Subject Teachers (SSTs) in February 2014 again held examination in 25 districts to bring 1,200 new entrants to the education sector.
After the conduction of test, the list of the qualified candidates was displayed on NTS website with their merit-wise list.
Under the NTS test, 79 new entrants (boys/girls) qualified from Chitral for SSTs both in General and Science subjects – biological and physical sciences. After the due process of NTS, documentary verification of qualified teachers for SSTs started in the month of January which the district education department carried out with the verification and finalization of CTs and PST teachers. CT and PST entrants after due formalities have been working in different schools for the last one month but the SSTs still waiting for their appointments with eager and enthusiasm.
The fresh blood entrants in primary, middle and high schools with diverse teaching experiences bringing change in learning outcomes in government schools as the independent Monitoring Unit has brought about a positive change monitoring teachers’ absenteeism in close scrutiny -which KP government had launched two years back in the province.
It was reported that the new entrants in education will continue their works with the start of new academic year but the petition of in-service CT and PST teachers against the SST teachers recruitments on contract basis in 2006, delayed the starting of new academic year with new blood. Though, the new entrants of SSTs finalized in the month of April after due process of NTS and by each education department in the province, are no party on the appeal of in-service CT & PSTs for 70pc right of departmental promotion- which they invoke was given to the SST teachers recruited on contract basis, and regularized later on.
It was learned that the court on the appeal of in-service teachers ruled that the education department of the province to abide by the policy rule of giving 70pc share of departmental promotion to in-service teachers, and until the final decision of apex court on SST teachers right of departmental promotion not only they got stayed erstwhile posts filled by education department but through their counsel in court also maintained ban on the advertisement of other posts.
Under the said case new entrants (SST teachers) are no party but they are the poor victims, were sandwiched between the in-service CT& PSTs and SSTs recruited on contract basis. As a result of this stay order 1200 teachers either left their jobs in other systems or organizations they were working in or thinking to be unemployed having been worried about the lapse of policy timeframe of recruitment.
It is also pertinent to analyse this situation on the prism of the exigency of teaching, and learning in schools where no teacher with subject competency and specialisation is to teach learning community in this competitive age. If one teacher teaches more or less 80 students’ in a school on every day, these awaited 1200 SST teachers will teach 96,000 students on daily basis. This situation might have had adverse impact on preparing future generation and further set hurdles on lingering legal complication of this issue, costs heavy from students and new entrants awaiting for their appointments.
It is also important to bring into the notice of KP government and education department that the new recruited SST teachers, (male and female) for both General and Science subjects were recruited on expected posts, may not be posted on that school will be a major problem for them. And if they will be posted in other schools, some entrants finalized for that schools again remaining without jobs until the up-gradation of expected schools. It is also important for the government to bring new entrants together into the field by upgrading schools, even posting teachers on expected posts at the same time with other SSTs. Once finalizing a teacher’s position in a school, sending him/her in another school; and keeping other candidates on waiting list until the up-gradation of expected schools may also increase pessimism amongst the qualified teachers in the province.
The need of the hour is that the government of KP to second the resolution of this issue and opening ways for bringing new blood into the education field sooner than later if the provincial government of KP wants a groundbreaking change in the province by education.
The writer is a teacher and free-lancer journalist based in Chitral.