ISLAMABAD - The shortage of above 1700 teachers in the public sector schools and colleges of the federal capital has challenged the vow of the newly elected government of providing quality education in the country, The Nation learned on Tuesday.

The government had promised to improve the quality and standard of education in the public sector educational institutions yet the non-availability of teaching staff especially science teachers is affecting the quality of education.

Sources informed The Nation that the local government and the ministry of federal education are establishing 13 new educational institutions in the city.

However, the authorities have to gear up the process of filling the vacant posts of teachers for years.

“Teachers and students are facing severe burden which is affecting the quality of education,” said a senior teaching official. 423 educational institutions functional under Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) include 20 model set-up and 12 Federal Government (FG) set-up colleges as well.  The official added that the schools and colleges from model and FG set-up are facing shortage of teachers in the subjects of English, Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry.

Sources said that the schools are facing the shortage of above 1500 hundred teachers, while each college from model and FG set-up is lacking around 15 teachers from the different subjects specially science. The official said where the government is announcing projects of establishing new educational institutions; it should have addressed providing staff to the already existing colleges first.

The official said that Islamabad Model College for Boys (IMCB) Sihala, Islamabad Model Post Graduate College (IMPGC) I-8/3, Islamabad Model College for Girls (IMCG) I-14/3 and IMCG Barakahu are functional without a regular teaching staff. 

The official said that IMCB Sihala and IMPGC I-8/3 were established in 2009, while IMCH I-14/3 and IMCG Barakahu were established in 2012. “Since then the authority has yet to create budgeted posts of teachers there yet the government is inaugurating new colleges now,” he said.  

The official said that the administration of schools and colleges manages the shortage of teaching staff by borrowing teachers from other colleges or hiring teachers on daily wages.

He said that public schools and colleges cater a large population of students and non-availability of teachers is creating severe problems in the education sector.

“In some colleges school subject teachers are given additional responsibility of teaching college level students,” said the official.

He further said that some of the institutions have strength of 1000 students and teachers are not available, while some of the rural area schools even don’t have students and teachers both.

The official also said that the educational institutions also lack non-teaching staff there and if the number is added the strength of the shortage of staff goes above 3000. “Establishment of only new buildings is not solving the problem,” said the official. 

He also said that the case of creation of posts was prepared by the FDE and was sent to the finance division but files are still stuck there.

“Neither the case was built on strong grounds nor the finance and establishment division expedite the case, while the pressure is being faced by students and teachers,” said the official.

The official also said that the administrative affairs of the teaching side were not being solved and the cases were being decided through courts.  “Hiring, promotions time pay scale cases all are pending,” said the official. 

Spokesperson FDE Yasser Arafat Chattah informed The Nation that teachers’ posts are vacant in two tiers and institutions need approximately 1650-1700 teachers. 

He said around 350 posts are vacant in model educational set-up and process of hiring is underway on these posts. He said that the case of the vacant posts in the model colleges has been prepared and sent and likely the posts will be advertised in the month of February.

He said that a major issue of shortage of teachers rests in the FG set-up and around 1400 posts are vacant there.  The spokesperson said that FDE nearly 3.5 years before has sent the service structure of the teachers in establishment division and it has not been decided yet.

He said that establishment division raised some objections on it and FDE again sent to the division after clearing the objection.  “Posts will be advertised soon the establishment division approves the case,” he said. 

He said that time was consumed on litigation issues while hiring of the staff in schools and colleges. He also added that there is also a stay order on hiring of non-teaching staff in the institutions. 

Representative Federal Government Teachers Association (FGTA) Prof Dr Tahir Mehmood said that students and teachers are suffering because of shortage of staff.  He said that the ministry and relevant departments should expedite the process of hiring of teaching and non-teaching staff on an emergency basis.