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LANDI KOTAL: Thousands of government schools in tribal areas reopened on Saturday as the protesting teachers ended their protest sit-in in Islamabad after the federal government acceded to their demand for implementation of upgradation policy.

A warm welcome was accorded to hundreds of those teachers at Jamrud on their return after camping in front of the Parliament House in Islamabad since April 18 to press the federal government for announcing the upgradation policy for thousands of deserving Fata teachers.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on May 13 approved the Grant of Incentives of Higher Pay Scale and Upgradation of posts in the education in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

A notification issued in this regard by the federal Ministry of States and Frontier Regions said that it had no objection to the upgradation of 20,196 posts in different categories in the education sector of Fata with effect from July 2012.

Teachers’ leader says upgradation of posts a welcome step

The notification dated May 13 directed the additional chief secretary Fata “to proceed further in terms of the prime minister’s approval regarding the upgradation in posts in the education sector of Fata without delay and initiate action for final disposal of the case”.

Soon after reaching Jamrud on Friday evening a jubilant Khan Malik Mehsud, president All-Fata Government Teachers Association, announced the reopening of all the closed schools in Fata from Saturday along with resuming the suspended enrolment drive in all the primary schools.

Talking to Dawn, Mr Mehsud welcomed the announcement of upgradation policy by the federal government. He said that it was a longstanding demand of tribal teachers as the same policy had already been implemented by the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 2012.

“Upgradation of posts is our basic right which the federal government had denied to us for the last four years,” he argued and added that the policy would end unrest among marginalised teachers of tribal areas.

He pointed out that in order to make up for the loss of precious time of thousands of students, schools across Fata would be reopened in mid August instead of the first week of September after their summer holidays.

Mr Mehsud also announced the resumption of the enrolment drive from Monday.

Earlier in the first week of April, nearly 25,000 teachers of thousands of government schools in Fata announced boycott of classes as the new academic session began in the region.

Published in Dawn, May 15th, 2016