Unpaid Salaries Threaten Continuation of Afternoon Shifts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Government Schools

Unpaid Salaries Threaten Continuation of Afternoon Shifts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Government Schools

Afternoon shift classes in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s government schools may face temporary closure as teachers reportedly decline to continue teaching over outstanding wage payments. 

The provincial education department had launched the second shift classes in September 2021. This initiative was aimed at promoting educational engagement and reducing the student dropout rate in schools that demonstrated over 60% enrollment. Presently, around 80,000 to 100,000 students have enrolled in these afternoon shift classes. Former Education Minister, Shahram Khan Tarakai, had articulated that the program was designed to offer educational avenues to children unable to attend standard schooling hours due to diverse constraints. 

Nevertheless, this program witnessed partial suspension in January 2023, when the preceding administration terminated afternoon classes in 167 primary, middle, and higher secondary schools across various districts. Concurrently, the government directed education officers to refrain from demanding salaries. 

As per the Education Department, there is an alarming count of approximately 3.2 million children in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the tribal areas who remain out of school, with the dropout ratio being particularly elevated amongst girls. In the tribal territories, a staggering 97% of girls abandon their schooling at the primary level, chiefly due to prohibitions on attending schools in remote regions. Unverified reports suggest that about 8,000 teachers enlisted in the second shift program have been awaiting their salaries for the past four months.

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Despite these challenges, the incumbent Additional Education Secretary has given assurances that the required funds have been earmarked, and employees will receive their pending payments shortly. 

In a move to expedite the resolution of this crisis, an amount of Rs3.3 million has been dispatched to the relevant deputy commissioners and district education officers. Additionally, an investigation is underway to identify the root cause of this delay in salary disbursements. 

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