Over 2,000 maktab schools being reopened, PA told

Updated 19 Sep 2020

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Minister for elementary and secondary education Akbar Ayub told the house that the department concerned had ordered the reopening of all maktab schools. — AP/File
Minister for elementary and secondary education Akbar Ayub told the house that the department concerned had ordered the reopening of all maktab schools. — AP/File

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly was informed on Friday that the provincial government was reopening more than 2,000 maktab schools in the province that were closed during the last tenure of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf due to multiple reasons.

Winding up discussion on the state of education in the province, minister for elementary and secondary education Akbar Ayub told the house that the department concerned had ordered the reopening of all maktab schools.

He said the closure of maktab schools, which were previously opened in mosques or hujras to impart primary education, was wrong and therefore, the government had reversed that decision.

The minister said directives had been issued to the relevant authorities in districts to make maktab schools functional.

He said the opening of 1,000 community schools had been approved, while the upgradation of 350 schools in settled districts and 210 schools in merged districts (erstwhile Fata) had also been included in the current annual development programme.

Minister denies corruption in teachers’ hiring through testing agencies

During the session chaired by Deputy Speaker Mahmood Jan, Mr Ayub said the start of second-shift classes in schools was in the pipeline, while the department would put up a summary for the purpose to the cabinet in the next meeting for approval.

He said teachers would be hired on first come first serve basis if the government teachers didn’t perform duties in second shift.

The education minister said 12,000 teachers had already been recruited, while an agreement had been signed with the recruitment testing agency for the appointment of 30,000 new teachers, including 5,000 in merged tribal districts, to address shortages.

He said 3,000 ‘school leaders’ were being recruited to improve the evaluation and monitoring system in government schools.

Mr Ayub rejected the allegations of corruption and favouritism in the recruitment of teachers through private testing agencies and said it was not possible for the department to carry out the shortlisting of hundreds of thousands of applicants for vacancies.

He said the government had tasked private firms with holding tests for the recruitment of teachers.

The minister said the single curriculum being designed with the help of the federal education ministry would help promote the ‘feelings of nationhood’.

He said KP won’t surrender its constitutional rights delegated by the 18th Constitutional Amendment.

Earlier, initiating debate on the state of education in the province, Awami National Party leader Sardar Hussain Babak said education was a provincial subject and the federal government violated the Constitution by designing the single curriculum.

He said the federal education minister unlawfully convened the meetings of education ministers every month.

Mr Babak also criticised the government’s recruitment policies and alleged that the National Testing Service, which conducted test for the recruitment of employees for public sector organisations, had collected Rs55 billion from jobless candidates in the province during the last three years.

He demanded a National Accountability Bureau inquiry against testing agencies.

The ANP lawmaker asked the government to disclose the names of the partners of testing agencies.

He said the marks given to candidates through NTS shouldn’t be counted during the compilation of the merit list and that teachers should be recruited on the basis of their educational qualifications.

Mr Babak also complained that the Regional Language Authority was nonfunctional.

ANP member Nisar Khan Mohmand said around 15,000 university students from the merged tribal districts couldn’t attend online classes due to the unavailability of 3G and 4G Internet service in the area.

He said those students were eventually declared ‘failed’.

MPA Mir Kalam Khan said several universities had abolished reserved seats for students from the merged tribal districts.

He said a recent survey conducted by three organisations disclosed that 122 union councils in the merged districts didn’t have any girl school.

MPA Hafiz Isamuddin from South Waziristan tribal district demanded the shifting of security forces from educational institutions in his area.

He said 50 schools for boys and girls and two colleges didn’t function in his constituency.

The lawmaker demanded the early reconstruction of the seminaries damaged during military operations.

The government introduced the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Public Private Partnership Bill, 2020, in the house.

The sitting, which was convened on the requisition of the opposition parties, was prorogued.

Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2020