SHARANA (PAN): Education officials said progress had been made to promote the education sector in the restive Paktika but the vital area was still facing multiple obstacles.
Ustad Kochai Zazai, head of Paktika education department said the province had 344 active schools with 207 primary, 59 secondary and 85 high schools.
As many as 142,034 students are enrolled elsewhere in Paktika schools with 23,000 of them are girls’ students. At least 3,710 with 950 of them are female teachers are imparting education to the students of the province. Two pedagogical institutes, two agriculture and accounting institutes and two agriculture vocational institutes along with the education faculty have been functioning in Paktika.
The Paktika University has education, chemistry, biology, physics, mathematics, English and Islamic studies departments where 280 students are enrolled, Zazai said, adding, Quran memorizing centers and other religious studies centers were also serving the community where hundreds of students are enrolled.
Progress and challenges:
Head of Paktika education department said they did not have any closed school in the province, adding that few schools had been reopened, which were earlier closed due to insecurity. The schools were reopened following extended support by the local religious figures and tribal elders.
The province experiences lack of professional and dedicated male and female teachers. Against the backdrop of repeated requests from the locals, the government is planning to open more girls’ schools in a number of districts but absence of female teachers is an obstacle, Zazai promised who said his administration would resolve the issue of female teachers.
Head of the education department said that proper buildings for schools in the provincial capital and a number of districts had been built. He said still 50 % of schools had no buildings. He said opening of education faculty, higher education centers, agriculture schools and bringing the number of students to a higher number were among his government achievements.
Going into greater details, Zazai said as many as 750 student from Paktika passed the higher education entry test in 2012. He said people of the area had been encouraged to send their kids to schools who had extended their all out support to the cause of education process. He said rebels were not hampering education process and the students used to go to schools without any fear.
Mohammad Gul, a resident of Sharana said three of his children were getting education in Sharana high school, adding that the education had improved considerably. He however, said the vital sector was facing formidable challenges including lack of dedicated teachers, shortage of female teachers and libraries in schools.
Karim Khan, a resident of KhwajaKhel district said for years students were getting education in the open sky who were facing problems during rain and other natural disasters. He went on to say they had repeatedly requested the relevant department to construct buildings for schools but the concerned authorities would yet taken action.
Naeem Khan Katwazi, a resident of Yehyakhil locality said there was no girls’ school in his locality, adding that with the improvement in security, people started demanding to build more girls’ schools to get their daughters and sisters get educated. Muhmadullah, a resident of Urgon district said his locality had girls’ primary schools but no one had graduated yet. He asked for construction of girls’ schools as well.
Teachers and Students:
Mohammad Ismail Khan, a student at Khwaja Khel high school said they had teachers in their schools but most of them were not professionals.
Naqibullah, a student at Wais Baba School in said they were not getting the textbooks and other teaching materials on time. “We are receiving the textbooks after the favorable time, forcing them to buy the books from bazaar,” he added.
Meanwhile, a number of teachers blamed parents for not paying attention to their children’s education, complaining they were not receiving their salaries on time.
Rahim Khan, a teacher at Hazrat Ali high school in Mata Khan District said teachers used to attend the school on first day of the education year but students remained absent for months. He blamed the parents for not pursuing their kids to know whether they were attending their classes regularly or otherwise.
Another teacher from the district said the sole source of income was his monthly salary, adding he did not get his salary for months. Locals said that that kind of trend left negative impact on the education of the students.
Azizullah Amiri, an analyst and head of Paktika Youth and Cultural Association while lauding the education sector in the province said teachers’ salaries payment on time was a serious problem, which affected the future of students. He said authorities should come forward to help resolve the long standing absence of professional teachers’ issue.