PESHAWAR: Leader of the opposition in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Akram Khan Durrani on Monday warned the government against doing away with the teacher training institutes and said if that happened, members of the opposition parties along with teachers and students of government schools would begin street protests.

Speaking on a point of order, Mr Durrani came down hard on the provincial government for what he claimed initiating the process of abolishing the regional institutes for teacher education functioning in all districts of the province.

“We can besiege the chief minister on the main gate of the KP Assembly if he allows the abolition of RITEs,” he said before the start of the budget debate in the house, which met with Speaker Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani in the chair.

The opposition leader claimed that for the abolition of RITEs, a summary had been sent by the elementary and secondary education department to the chief minister for approval. He urged the chief minister to not approve the summary.

Threatens agitation if denied uplift funds

The RITEs’ mandate was to provide pre-service training to schoolteachers in their respective districts.

The education department has decided to do away with RITEs after ending the condition of pre-service training two years ago. Now, the education department is appointing fresh graduates as teachers before providing them with post-service training.

Responding to the opposition leader’s warning of street protests, financial minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra said the government won’t make any compromise on the quality of education and teacher training.

He said the government had doubled the current funding for teacher training in the next year.

Parliamentary leader of ANP MPA Sardar Hussain Babak wondered under which law the government had excluded the development projects reflected in the previous annual development programme for the constituencies of opposition lawmakers.

He said residents of the constituencies of treasury and opposition lawmakers paid equal taxes, so development projects should be distributed judiciously.

Mr Babak said the government had drastically cut development budget to Rs5 billion for the upcoming year, while Rs5 billion loan was given away to the Frontier Works Organisation, which was constructing the Swat Expressway.

He said the next budget was not for the entire province as development funds had been allocated for the constituencies of certain influential members of the treasury.

The ANP leader criticised the government over the proposed abolition of RITEs and wondered who would train teachers if RITEs were not there.

He also warned the government of protests if the opposition lawmakers were denied development funds.

Sahibzada Sanaullah of the PPP said a road in his constituency of Upper Dir district had been under construction since 2015 due to the disinterest of the government.

He regretted that there was no allocation in the next ADP for that road.

MPA Faisal Zaib from Shangla said the next ADP showed that the provincial government was bent on pushing the people of underdeveloped areas to abject poverty by ignoring their development.

He said the development of health and education facilities in his constituency were ignored.

The lawmaker complained that the students of government schools in the opposition members’ areas got education in the open as there’re no buildings.

Sardar Yousaf of the PML-N, Inayatullah Khan of the MMA, Taj Mohammad Tarand of the PTI and Waqar Ahmad Khan of the ANP also spoke on the occasion.

The chair adjourned the session until Tuesday (today).

Published in Dawn, June 25th, 2019

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