‘War against illiteracy’: A short-sighted enrolment drive

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A provincial enrollment drive for this purpose began on September 9 when PTI chief Imran Khan filled out admission forms for two children. Khan on the occasion termed poor education facilities as the biggest challenge for the province and said, “The PTI will wage a war against illiteracy in K-P.”

However, before embarking on an ambitious literacy campaign the government needs to focus on fulfilling the basic requirements of school buildings and needs to enhance the capabilities of school teachers, keeping in view the immense difference between annual academic results of state-run and private educational institutes.

The enrollment drive is currently underway and children are being registered, however, teachers are of the opinion that before bringing more children in the schools, the buildings need to be furnished not just with additional staff but with desks, fans and classrooms, among other things.

A teacher employed at a primary school in Kakshal requesting anonymity said, “At the moment, one teacher teaches 40 students at a time and by increasing the number of students to 50 – 60, you are attempting to fit all these students in a classroom meant for only 40 people.”

Meanwhile, the school building of Government Primary School for Boys in Dagay Adezai, which was blown up by militants in 2011, is currently being rebuilt and students are compelled to study without electricity, a ceiling or even a tent to protect them.

Students belonging to different classes study at the same time in one ground; resultantly all the noise diverts their concentration and they are unable to focus on lessons, which ultimately affects their academic performance.

Khan has been so keen on investing in education and has been insisting upon parents to enroll their children in schools, but with basic facilities lacking in many state-run institutions children will not be able to study and achieve good results.

The old formula of one teacher per 40 students in a class also needs to be changed and the number of students in a class kept to an optimum level so that teachers can effectively work with all students.

The provincial government also needs to work on the capacity building of government teachers and train them in new and progressive teaching methods to bring them at par with private school teachers. Resultantly, the improvement in teaching will also reflect in the improved performance of government school students in their exams.

Source: The Express Tribune