PESHAWAR: The afternoon shift classes in government schools of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are at risk of suspension as authorities have failed to fulfill the teachers’ salary obligations for the past four months.
Consequently, the teachers have ceased their duties, attributing their decision to the non-payment of salaries.
The initiative to introduce classes during the second shift was undertaken by the provincial education department in September 2021, aimed at promoting education and reducing the dropout rate.
Schools with an enrollment of over 60% were included in the second shift program, which was also intended to provide educational opportunities to children who were unable to attend schools during regular hours due to various reasons, as mentioned by former education minister Shahram Khan Tarakai.
In January 2023, the previous government partially suspended the program, terminating the afternoon classes in 167 primary, middle, and higher secondary schools across different districts. Concurrently, the former government directed education officers not to demand their salaries.
Presently, an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 children are enrolled in the afternoon classes. The Education Department statistics reveal that a staggering 3.2 million children in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and tribal areas remain out of school, with girls exhibiting a higher dropout ratio compared to boys, particularly in tribal areas, where 97% of girls quit schools at the primary level. This concerning trend primarily stems from the lack of permission for girls to attend schools in remote areas.
Sources report that approximately 8,000 teachers affiliated with the second shift program have been deprived of salaries for four months.
However, when approached for comment, the incumbent additional education secretary assured that the necessary funds have been disbursed, and the employees will receive their salaries in the near future.
He further stated that an investigation would be conducted to ascertain the reasons behind the delay in salary disbursement. Notably, a sum of Rs3.3 million has been released to the relevant deputy commissioners and district education officers to address the issue.