HYDERABAD, April 29: Awami Jamhoori Party leader Abrar Kazi has accused the provincial government of playing with people’s future by planning to recruit 19,000 primary school teachers with intermediate being minimum qualification.
He said the qualification of candidates for teachers’ jobs should at least be graduation and selection should be made either by the Aga Khan Foundation or the Federal Board of Education.
Addressing a news conference at the press club, Mr Kazi rejected the test by the National Testing Service of Sindh University or the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Sukkur, and appealed to the World Bank and other financial and educational institutions of the US and European countries which extend support for education to ensure that their aid was used appropriately.
He said the state of affairs in the education sector was pathetic and 19,000 teachers with intermediate certificate would ruin generations of Sindhi people.
With the education system in tatters, even a graduate could hardly write a correct sentence in English, he said.
He criticised the selection method and an advertisement of the education department which said a third party would conduct the test.
“Previously, such tests were conducted by Sindh University which had three drawbacks. It was easy to get answers on cellphones for multiple choice questions and 50 per cent marks reserved for viva voce could be used to alter the results in favour of supporters of ruling party,” he said.
Those who passed a simple test based on general knowledge did not necessarily mean they could also be good teachers, the AJP leader said. Assessment of many candidates selected through Sindh University’s testing system showed they should never have been selected, he said.
He said he feared that with elections only a year away the PPP would try to appease its voters by doling out jobs through parliamentarians who would get jobs’ quotas to give them away among their supporters. It had happened during the first tenure of the Benazir Bhutto government when some people inducted as PSTs could not even write their names.
“Children have suffered for more than 30 years because of the flawed policy and the PPP is about to commit the same mistake, which will condemn children to 40 years of ignorance,” he said.
Mr Kazi proposed that the test should be essay-type and not of answers to multiple choice questions. It should compulsorily include demonstration by a candidate to prove his skill to teach. Only 10 marks should be reserved for viva-voce, he said.
He said that each district must have its quota depending on available jobs in area and no district should be allowed to fill jobs with candidates from other areas.
If need be, he said, tests should be conducted over a period of one or more years till suitable candidates were found. If a candidate failed, he should be given six months time to re-appear.
Even teachers from Sri Lanka or Bangladesh could be hired on 10-year contract for teaching English and mathematics to fill the gap, he said.
Mr Kazi appealed to political parties, conscientious citizens and parents of children to raise their voice to stop the PPP government from appointing unqualified teachers and playing with the future of the children of Sindh.
Although education is a devolved subject, the provincial government should take the one-off decision to get services of the Federal Board of Education to make an honest selection of efficient teachers in the larger interest of people of Sindh, he said.