Protesting teachers oppose cluster schools system

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The primary teachers staged a protest demonstration here on Thursday against the government’s plan of introducing cluster schools system in the province. The protesting teachers demanded of the government to set up a separate directorate for primary education at the provincial level.

Carrying banners and placards, the members of All Primary Teachers Association (Apta) chanted slogans against the government’s education sector reforms plan and termed it unfeasible.

Teachers from across the province participated in the protest demonstration. Apta provincial president Malik Khalid said on the occasion that government should avoid making new experiences in the education sector. The government should focus on ensuring provision of quality education to the people, he added.

Mr Khalid said that the system would adversely affect the performance of government high and higher secondary schools as the principals concerned would not be able to focus on their own institution.

He said that the heads of those schools would not be able to look after their own efficiently if they were engaged to supervise primary schools in their areas.

Mr Khalid demanded of the government to recruit new teachers to fill the 14,000 vacant posts in the province and regularise the services of ad hoc and contact teachers.

According to the proposed cluster schools system, the principal of a high school will have to supervise primary schools in his areas while in the existing system only district education officer and executive district education officer oversee the performance of the entire schools in a district.

In Lakki Marwat, the district chapter of Apta organised a rally to record its protest against ad hoc-based recruitments and political interference in the education department.

Apta provincial vice president Shafiq Ahmad and local president Haji Abdul Rahim led the rally, which started from Eidgah and ended at Kargil Chowk.

Speaking on the occasion, the Apta leaders asked the government to stop political meddling and interference of NGOs in the affairs of education department.

They also urged the provincial government to avoid implementing the plan of cluster schools system and stop recruitment of teachers on ad hoc basis. “We reject the cluster system and ad hoc appointment of teachers as such moves will prove detrimental for the primary education,” the Apta leaders said.

In Karak, primary teachers organised a demonstration in favour of their demands and rejected the cluster schools system, planned by the provincial government.

Led by Apta district president Javed Iqbal, the teachers marched on different roads and staged a sit-in outside the office of deputy commissioner. Addressing the protesting teachers, Mr Iqbal said that there was a hierarchy of management in education department at district level and there was no need for cluster schools system.

Source: Dawn News.