Govt refuses to recruit 9,500 teachers in FATA citing financial constrains

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MoF approves appointment of only 1,450 teachers in FATA schools and colleges

ISLAMABAD: Though the government’s claims of introducing administrative reforms, besides spending billions of rupees on operations against terrorism, in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), but it has refused to fund efforts for filling around 9,500 vacant posts of teachers at schools and colleges in the tribal areas citing financial constraints as the primary reason.

Ministry of Finance (MoF) had only agreed to provide funds for recruitment of 1,450 teachers while refusing to fund appointment of 8,050 teachers. “We can recruit more teachers in various phases as the ministry cannot afford appointment of thousands of teachers in FATA,” an official at MoF said. He however admitted that bringing in the number of required teachers/posts at various schools and colleges in the tribal areas could not be ensured.

“The menace of extremism and terrorism cannot be rooted out from FATA if the youth is not provided education,” said the parliamentary leader of FATA in Senate Hidayatullah, who raised this issue in the parliament by saying that at some schools in the region, only one teacher was teaching more than 1,200 students.

“The federal government has allocated billions of rupees for Metro Bus Transit and train projects, but it had no money to fill 9,500 vacant posts in the tribal areas. More than 90,000 children of Bajaur Agency had been out of school for several years due to the shortage of educational facilities while thousands of children were denied admissions in schools every year,” he said.

“No concrete steps have been taken by the government apart from raising hollow slogans of educating the youth to help them escape the clutches of terrorism and extremism,” he added.

The senator had also taken up the issue at the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue where he complained that the people of FATA were being kept illiterate intentionally. The committee was informed that schools, colleges and hospitals were present in FATA but the government was not willing to appoint teachers and health staff there.

Senator Hidayatullah expressed surprise over the fact that primary and high school vacancies were being filled but the middle schools were being completely ignored in the process.

According to him, there was a need for opening more than 350 new schools in Bajaur Agency to enroll all local children, but the government did not realise this simple fact. The government schools in Bajaur Agency, especially primary ones, faced an acute shortage of teachers as most of them had only one teacher for over 600 students, he added.

On the other hand, official sources at the Ministry of Finance claimed that FATA Secretariat through the Minister of States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) had approved appointments on at least 5,500 vacancies in FATA, out of which 2,300 vacancies would be filled on priority basis. At least 1,450 vacancies would be filled in the education and health sectors in the first phase, while 800 more vacancies would be filled in the second phase, he added.

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