PESHAWAR: Primary school teachers held protest meetings in different parts of the province against delay in payment and reduction of their salaries and asked the government to relieve them of the polio vaccination duty so they could focus on their teaching job.
In Peshawar, scores of government primary school teachers held a demonstration outside the press club on Saturday against the visits of members of Independent Monitoring Unit (IMU) and delay in payment of salaries.
“Imposing education emergency in the province is of no use because the teachers are frequently involved in various other activities like polio campaigns, elections and census duties,” said Aziz Ullah Khan, president of All Primary Teachers Association (APTA), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, while talking to mediapersons on the occasion.
He said that salaries of 36 teachers of Swat district and 106 male and female teachers of Mardan district had been stopped due to IMU reports. He said that these teachers were on polio duty when the IMU personnel came and filed reports about their absence from schools. He claimed that salaries were deducted on the basis of ‘false’ reports of IMU.
“Administering anti-polio drops is not the duty of teachers rather it is the duty of health department officials or volunteers. Teachers are appointed for delivering better education,” he said.
Mr Aziz demanded of Chief Minister Pervez Khattak to relieve the teachers from polio duty and order for release of their withheld salaries otherwise they would continue holding demonstrations.
He said that teachers were accountable to the education department only and the district administration had no right to suspend teachers or stop their salaries. He also asked the officers of education department to take stand on the issue.
Hold protests in several cities against salary cut
In Kohat, the Primary Teachers Association also opposed involvement of teachers in anti-polio campaigns and condemned deduction of their salaries on allegations of refusals.
APTA district president Khalid Haneef chaired a meeting here and criticised the suspension of teachers for refusing to perform polio duty and deduction of their salaries. The meeting was attended by office-bearers of the association and teachers. Mr Haneef announced that teachers from southern districts would hold a protest in Peshawar on March 11.
In Mardan, the primary teachers held a protest demonstration against the deduction of salaries of those teachers who remained absent from duty. APTA district office-bearers, including district president Fahad Ali and general secretary Zawar Mohammad, led the protest.
Speaking on the occasion, they condemned the decision by the education authorities and district administration to deduct up to Rs4,000 from salaries of teachers who remained absent from the last campaign against polio. They vowed to continue protest if the decision of salary cut was not taken back.
In Buner, the primary teachers announced on Saturday that they would not take weapons to the schools and field during anti-polio campaigns. They held a protest demonstration in Daggar and said that it was impossible for teachers to deliver up to the mark when they would be engaged in multiple tasks like polio duty and ensuring security of schools. The rally was led by the teachers body chairman Miraj Ali Shah and president Akbar Ali.
Published in Dawn March 1st , 2015