SAHIWAL: Around 44 percent of special education teachers’ posts are lying vacant at the Government Higher Secondary School for Special Education (impaired hearing), Farid Town, for the last five years or so.
The teachers’ shortage is seriously hindering provision of quality education to some 300 students (from Grade 1 to 12) with special needs enrolled at the school that is the only institution for children with impaired hearing in the division.
Dawn has learnt from sources that many classes in the school were being taken by junior attendants instead of specially trained teachers.
The institute was established in 1987 as a public school. Initially it was run by few local philanthropists under the banner of ‘Welfare Association for Disabled Children”. Later it was placed under Punjab special education department.
The school also offers boarding facility for students from other towns and villages.
Mr Zulficar, who works as a senior clerk at the school says total 25 children are living in the school hostel mostly belonging to Pakpattan, Okara, and Depalpur areas.
The total staff strength of the school is 59 -- 29 posts of teachers working as Senior Special Education Teacher (SSET) and Junior Special Education Teacher (JSET). The remaining 30 posts are of clerical and Class VI staff.
The Principal, Abdul Kareem, told Dawn that 13 SSET posts at the school had been lying vacant for the last five years. “Six clerical and non-clerical posts are also vacant”, he added.
Sources said the school management, through district officer (education) had repeatedly written to special education secretary about the teachers shortage but to no avail.
Some local education department officers requesting anonymity said the issue could be resolved at the provincial secretary level.
They also referred to a recent letter written to Special Education Secretary Ms Ambreen Raza, that too failed to move provincial authorities for resolution of staff shortage issue faced by the school.
Sources said that because of the shortage around 14 classes of different grades were being taken by junior teaching staff.
Many of the boarders and their parents Dawn talked to demanded immediate appointment of senior teachers in their school.
Published in Dawn, May 5th, 2015