Education not top priority of Punjab, KP govts

ISLAMABAD: As the PML-N and PTI have locked horns in the political battlefield, educating masses doesn’t seem to figure in their priorities with approximately 42,000 positions of teachers vacant in the Punjab and 4,550 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Official data obtained through Right to Information requests portrays a gloomy picture of the state of education in both provinces led by the parties championing the causes of good governance and changing the destiny of Pakistan.

As district-wise information of vacant positions of teachers was requested, only six districts of the Punjab, out of 36, shared the information whereas the education departments of 10 KP districts, out of 25, dispatched the required details. The state of affairs at the provincial level has been derived from the available information.

As many as 7,010 seats are vacant in six districts of the Punjab that records 13.3% shortage. Kasur tops in this ranking with 1932 yet-to-be filled vacancies followed by Bahawalnagar (1825) and then Lahore (1122).

This ranking indicates that the Punjab government may be giving a step-motherly treatment to the southern region in terms of development; its indifference towards the education sector is without any ‘discrimination’ as Lahore and Kasur are also included.

In terms of district-wise percentage when a comparison between sanctioned and vacant positions is drawn, Kasur remains at the top with 18.1% vacant positions followed by Jhelum with 16.3%, Chakwal 14.1%, Bahawalnagar 13.3%, Lahore 11.1% and Khanewal 7.1%. Overall vacant positions in these six districts are 13.3%.

As for the KP, Swat tops the districts in terms of vacant position of teacher as 390 seats are lying vacant there. It is followed by Mardan (283 vacant seats), Haripur (248), Chitral (188), Abbottabad (172), Karak (169), Kohat (160), Laki Marwat (133), Tank (63) and Hangu (15).

If the situation is analyzed by drawing a comparison between the sanctioned and vacant posts in terms of percentage, Tanks ranks first with 45% vacant seats followed by Abbottabad (8.1%) vacant seats followed by Swat (7.1%), Haripur (6.5%), Chitral (5.6%), Karak (5.6%), Kohat (5.5%), Mardan (4.3%), Lakki Marwat (4.3%) and Hangu (1.8%). Overall vacant positions in these six districts are 5.1%.

A Unesco report early this year ranked Pakistan after Nigeria with second highest number of children (almost 5.5 million) out of school. Pakistan was also rated with the highest number of illiterate adults in the world after India and China.

Pakistan is among the 21 countries facing a serious learning crisis, according to the Unesco report scoring low in every index.Global standards of primary education seemed particularly severe in South and West Asia, and Western Africa. The countries in these regions, including Pakistan, are behind in virtually every index. Pakistan features along with 17 countries from sub-Saharan Africa, Mauritania, Morocco and India.
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