100 percent literacy rate?


The Punjab government launched an enrollment emergency campaign this year, which aims to enroll 3,998,000 out-of-school children between the ages of five and sixteen.

However, the situation on ground looks grim due to a severe shortage of teachers in various primary schools in Taxila tehsil.

A survey of primary schools in Taxila and the Wah Cantonment has found that there are 53 boys’ primary schools, most of which are located in rural areas.

Within these 53 primary schools, there are a total of 235 sanctioned posts for primary school teachers, of which 204 are filled and 31 posts are still vacant.

In addition, in 35 schools – most of which are located in rural and remote areas – primary school students are absent.

The grim state of affairs at so many primary schools belies the government’s claims regarding the promotion of education and strengthening of the education sector. Only 15 out of the 53 schools in the area have teachers hired as per the criteria laid down by the government.

Although there are 31 posts vacant in the schools, according to the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and education standards set by the provincial government and the education department, there is a shortage of 53 teachers in the various schools.

Moreover, a lack of proper facilities including drinking water, electricity, boundary walls, seating arrangements and restrooms at many of the schools contradicts the government’s slogans of “Parha likha Punjab” and “Education for all”.

The reality instead points to a miserable state of affairs, as the situation remains largely unchanged.

“It is unfortunate for those living in the area that their representatives are not bothered about providing improved education facilities,” said Asim Mir, President of The Voice, a non-government organisation (NGO) working in the area.

He said that ‘class-based’ education system is a major obstacle in the development of the education sector, adding, “A low enrollment rate, a massive drop-out ratio, poor quality, a lack of accountability and a total absence of discourse are the key problems of the education sector in Pakistan.

“If the present government wants to strengthen education in the country at grass-roots level and promote literacy, the flaws in primary education must be dealt with, and so must the vacant teaching posts and the missing facilities. Students are attracted to schools with the best possible facilities,” Asif Mehmood Malik, an educationist and the president of the Education Foundation, said.

When contacted, Deputy District Officer (DDO) for Education Abdul Khaliq said that the district and provincial education authorities are aware of the shortage of teaching staff in the area.

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