Punjab’s educational decline: ‘Read Punjab, Grow Punjab’ slogan fails as college enrollment plummets in Hazro

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Amjad Yousafzai

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Read In Urdu

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Punjab’s educational decline: ‘Read Punjab, Grow Punjab’ slogan fails as college enrollment plummets in Hazro

Amjad Yousafzai

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Read In Urdu

Last year, there were 1800 students enrolled in Government Boys Shaheed Khanzada Degree College in cities, but their number has now reduced to just two hundred. The college faces a shortage of professors in several crucial subjects, including Biology, Chemistry, Economics, and English. Due to the lack of teachers, there are currently no degree-level classes being held in the college. The college principal retired a few months ago, and a teacher was temporarily assigned as the college principal.

A student of the college, Danish Ali, reveals that during the last academic year, there were not only seven lecturers but also a significant number of College Teaching Instructors (CTIs). Seeing this, many students joined the college.

However, at the end of the last year, the contracts of these instructors ended, and they left the college. Four lecturers then exchanged their subjects, so neither the syllabus was being completed, nor many subjects were being taught. He said that those students who could not afford the high fees of private colleges are now engaged in farming or other work.

Another college student, Muhibullah, mentions that he doesn’t have the daily commuting expenses, nor can his parents afford the hefty fees of private colleges. Therefore, he has said goodbye to education and started working at his father’s shop.

In the girls’ degree college, there are 22 lecturer positions vacant where only arts subjects are taught, and relatively few girls enrol in them.

In this regard, Director of Colleges Attock Arshad Khan mentions that male and female lecturers were recruited for the colleges in cities last year through the Punjab Public Service Commission. However, no lecturer has been appointed from Hazro or district Attock, while men and women from other regions of Punjab succeeded. Some instructors, by using their influence or through policies like the ‘wedlock,’ managed to get transfers to colleges in their hometowns. The Education Department had approved college trainee instructors through the provincial government, but their contracts could not be extended due to the depletion of funds in September 2022.

According to Arshad Khan, Post Graduate College Attock has good arrangements for degree-level classes and there is no barrier for those living in Hazro to get admission there. The shortage of teachers has been brought to the notice of the higher government. Education management officers and lecturers will be available for these colleges once the Provincial Public Service Commission completes the recruitment process.

In Hazro, Deputy District Officer Education Muhammad Afsar says that the lack of teachers is being met by appointing private teachers in primary schools. Philanthropists and social organisations are very active in this regard.

According to government statistics, in Tehsil Hazro, there are 22,884 students in the first grade, while the number of students in the tenth grade is 18,179. In the twelfth grade, this number decreases significantly to only 1,888.

The Chief Executive of the District Education Authority, Malik Mohsin Abbas, believes that one major reason students leave government schools in Hazro is the shortage of teachers.

He acknowledges that the last recruitment of primary school teachers took place in 2018. After that, many teachers left for better employment opportunities; some were promoted and transferred to high schools, while others arranged transfers to schools near their homes.

He also mentions that there are 829 approved seats for primary teachers in Tehsil Hazro, but 314 of them remain vacant. Similarly, out of 592 seats for elementary science teachers, 58 are unfilled. There are 14 vacancies for senior science teachers, 51 for subject specialists, and 35 positions for headmasters/principals that have not been filled.

Changaiz Khan, a former Additional Deputy Commissioner with ties to Hazro, has addressed various issues in the area.

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Education crisis in Attock: Lack of intermediate teachers leads to dropouts and challenges for students

He states that during the previous government, he attempted to resolve issues related to the college, ranging from the Education Department to building matters and the Deputy Commissioner’s office. In December 2022, he requested funds to construct the college’s wall from Superintendent Engineer Khalid Hafeez of the Rawalpindi Division, but practical steps were not taken to address these issues.

Amin Islam, a former environmental adviser from Hazro and closely associated with former Prime Minister Imran Khan, mentions that he had faced challenges in addressing college-related issues, from a shortage of funds to hiring restrictions. Despite opposition, he arranged the exchange of four lecturers based on human compassion, placing them in their hometowns.

Regarding the maintenance and construction of the college building and wall, he explains that the provincial government had approved PC-1 for this purpose, but he has yet to learn of the progress on these matters since the change in government.

Published on 13 Sep 2023

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