For the first time in their careers, teachers across the province felt appreciated by the government.
Many of them thanked the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government for awarding them cash prizes for outstanding performances earlier this month. Authorities appreciated teachers’ efforts based on merit and awarded them cash prizes of up to Rs54 million, a press release issued by PTI said.
There are plans to double that amount in the current fiscal year, it read.
The press release added that raised boundary walls, barbed wire, and surveillance cameras are some features one sees in many schools in K-P. “They instil doubt and fear in the minds of everyone in the premises, including the teachers.” it added. The ruling party stated that these teachers, who felt largely underappreciated, walked several miles to reach schools in geographically inaccessible areas. “These are only some of the trials that teaching in K-P entails.”
However, not only do K-P’s teachers stand up to the threat of militants, but perform their best to reduce the fears of the now mentally and physically scarred students, the provincial government added in the presser. It said they are not only teaching under the most challenging of conditions, but doing it with determination. “The board examination result speaks for itself. “However, their work often would go unappreciated,” the presser stated. The PTI members believe the trend was changing through the party’s policies.
Voice of teachers
The press release quoted Anwar Sultana, headmistress for Government Girls Centennial Model School Peshawar, as saying, “In my 27-year-long career, there has never been any acknowledgement or appreciation; not even a letter from any government. However, PTI has not just given us cash prizes, but this is the first time in our lives that we received acknowledgement of our efforts.”
She said the government had taken initiatives that were close to their hearts as educationists. These included recruiting teachers on merit, providing basic facilities, developing the capacity of teachers and depoliticising the teaching profession. Sultana thanked the Minister for Education Muhammad Atif Khan for his efforts in changing the educational landscape in K-P and honouring the contributions of teachers.
A total of 960 principals, teachers and senior teachers were given cash prizes in a ceremony held at Government Shaheed Hasnain Sharif Higher Secondary School No1 in Peshawar on September 11, 2015. The awards were based on the Independent Monitoring Unit’s reports; Rs100,000 were awarded to outstanding head teacher/principal and Rs.50,000 for each performing teacher.
The performance was based on the results of 9th and 10th graders in board examinations. Only those schools were selected that achieved a 100% result this year.
Among the 840 male and female teachers who received awards, Naheed Akhtar, senior secondary teacher for science at Government Girls Centennial Model School, said, “It’s not about the money. Sure, money makes us happy but it’s the way we were treated for the first time, with respect and honour, and how it elevated our status in the eyes of our families and community members.” She said, “We feel proud and grateful to our government for this honour.”
Published in The Express Tribune, September 30th, 2015.