By Salal Sanjrani
There are several schools in Balochistan where students can’t be educated in the 21st century because their teachers choose to stay absent. These teachers don’t mind receiving regular salary without performing any duty at all.
In one such school in Union Council Kallag, Punjgur, girls can be seen in the classroom waiting for their teachers to show up. Some students come to the school with a hope that one day they would see the face of their dear teacher. But that day has not come since the beginning of the session in April this year.
Girls High School, Kallag has practically become dysfunctional due to more than 60 percent teaching staff’s absence.
The school has also no headmistress to look after the affairs and ensure the presence of all teaching staff. It is the only school for the girls in the whole union council with a population of around five thousand.
The headmaster of the Boys’ High School has an additional charge of the girl’s school but this makeshift arrangement does not seem to be working as the ghost teachers issue persists.
Kallag is a remote union council located 25 km away from the main city of Punjgur. It is nearly impossible for a common man to afford private schools, which are also located far in the main city. It is also difficult for them to send their kids as far as the city.
It is the main reason behind a large number of dropouts in the area.
PakVoices reached out to the headmaster, Abdul Wahab Baloch, who told the citizen journalist platform,” Despite repeated warnings, the school staff has remained absent.”
He further said, “The school has a teaching staff comprising of 13 teachers, out of which, only 5 teachers are taking their classes and other teachers mostly remain absent.’’
Asked whether he had taken any action against any of the absent teachers, Baloch replied,“I have written letters to the District Education Officer, complaining about the missing staff.”
He added,” Despite our repeated complaints, no action has been taken so far.”
“The payment of salaries was stopped for a period of one month,” Baloch said. The principle does not have the authority to stop the payment of salary for more than a month so the teachers got their salaries restored.
Shakir Baloch, a resident of the area and the father of three students, enrolled in the school, expressed his disappointment over the issue of teachers’ absence at the school. He called on the authorities to take immediate action and resolve the issue for the sake of children’s education.
Balochistan is the most backward province of the country in terms of education, where female literacy rate is comparatively low. According to a report published in The Nation, “70% of girls are dropped out from schools in Balochistan. The overall female literacy rate is 25%.”
Yet the brave daughters of this soil compete with boys in every walk of life.
Salal Sanjrani works with PakVoices as a citizen journalist from Punjgur, Balochistan.