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RAWALPINDI: The education department of Rawalpindi on Monday reshuffled over 700 schoolteachers in the district under a rationalisation policy.

According to education policy, at primary level the teacher-student ratio should be 1:40 and at elementary and secondary school level 3:100.

However, the Rawalpindi district government has failed to maintain this ratio in schools of remote areas as teachers prefer to avoid posting there by using influence with the authorities concerned.

But on Monday, the education department came up with a directive aimed at maintaining the ratio envisaged in the education policy and reshuffled 754 schoolteachers and transferred some of them to far flung areas of the district.

Talking to Dawn, Executive District Officer (education) Qazi Zahoorul Haq said: “We transferred and reshuffled teachers to make sure that there should be no shortage of teaching staff in any school.”

He said that around 580 primary, 95 elementary and 95 senior secondary school teachers, both male and female, have been transferred and reshuffled.

According to education department’s survey report 2013, in all 1,986 government-run schools across the district have 14,995 teachers and 358,284 students.

Commenting on teachers’ shortage issue a senior officer, who also took part in compiling the survey report, said that there was no shortage of regular teachers, but mismanagement and favouritism in transfer and posting had created an imbalance in teacher-student ratio in some schools.

He said that in some schools, there were only two teachers for more than 300 students whereas in others there was extra staff.

He said the officers of education department were unable to bear pressure of political personalities in matters of transfer and posting.

“I doubt the new directive will be implemented in letter and spirit,” he said, adding: “Even, on Monday, when the transfer letters were issued, political personalities started approaching the officials of the department to get their favourite teachers letters withdrawn.”

Under the rationalisation policy, junior most teachers are supposed to be transferred. However, teachers union alleged that many senior teachers were also transferred.

“Implementation of rationalisation policy is a positive step. We appreciate it. But there should be no discrimination,” said Raja Shahid Mubarik, President Punjab Teacher Union Rawalpindi chapter.

EDO Qazi Zahoorul Haq however said that he had constituted a three-member committee to hear teachers’ complaints about transfer issues.

“Committee is tasked to hear teachers’ grievances and if anyone has been transferred against the rules, his/her orders will be withdrawn.”

He said that primary and elementary teachers were transferred within the tehsils while some senior school teachers (SST) were transferred outside their tehsil.