BENJAMIN Franklin articulated that “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest” Teachers are the gateway to knowledge and spend lives to educate people and nations. Without teachers, no one would learn anything. United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) observe World Teachers Day on 5 October each year to pay a full tribute to the teachers for their vital knowledge being transformed. More than 100 countries will observe this day to pay tributes to the teachers.
A teacher is considered to be the second parent in one’s character, values and attitude. A teacher in real life plays several roles as a guardian, caretaker, instructor, learning facilitator, mentor etc. It is said that “it takes a big heart to shape little minds”. The teacher measures the achievements and aspirations of the nation. Teachers are nation builders, educates nations through their extensive knowledge and they are considered to be the Fountains of Knowledge.
Spectator Index survey 2018 articulated that China is placed on top ranking in respect of teachers, nonetheless, the UK stands at 10th in the ranking. Pakistan’s position is 94 while India ranks 34 with respect to teachers. Teachers are assets of nations, they educate the nations and it is said that World Education is the key to building a safer, healthier, wealthier world and role of teachers should never be underestimated.
In Pakistan situation of teachers is alarming because teachers are often poorly paid and undervalued by leaders in a broader sense. A pervasive problem facing most of the educational institutions in Pakistan is that they are not able to retain good teaching staff because of inadequate incentive structure.
Contract employment may seem all glow and no grows with. Most of the time there comes a tricky situation where employees feel themselves trapped and do not like the employment opportunities presented to them. But, in a country like Pakistan, many youths are jobless and living from hand to mouth. They survive to adopt any job to push the cart smoothly. Many contract jobs have their advantages and disadvantages, but teaching should be treated well in respective manners.
Contract policy of teachers in Pakistan has highly devastated their means of income. Even in the Capital of Pakistan more than 1800 teachers are working on daily wages. The successive governments promised that they will be adjusted in regular status upon the recommendation of their Principals. It is worth mentioning that the ratio of daily wager teachers in the government schools in Islamabad is higher than that of regular teachers.
The case of daily wagers teachers was filed in Islamabad Supreme Court and the apex court had decided that all daily wages employees should be given permanent status in 90 days, but no fruitful result has occurred so far. Many teachers have threatened the current government that if their issues were not resolved, they will adopt the policy of self-immolation.
The current Government is the hope of ray for the entire masses of Pakistan and especially for the youth. But, many people believe that poor policies for education and youth are thwarting and baseless. What the current government can do for the teachers, working on daily wages, there are some policy plan, if adopted by the government, they can improve the status of teachers in Pakistan. The teachers should be offered better salary structure so that they can concentrate on teaching and the educational institutions do not suffer from brain drain.
The Federal Education Minister should reaffirm the status of daily wages teachers in Islamabad and should plan a concrete policy to save their future. The incumbent staff at schools and colleges, working on daily wages are well-trained and highly educated, they should be regularized on a priority basis instead of hiring new staff. The incentives/salaries of daily wager teachers should be paid regularly. Education budget may be increased. Arrange refresher courses for teachers, which can help them to learn modern methods of teaching and communicating with students. Victor Marie Hugo and French Novelist, poet and dramatists quoted that “he opens a schools doors closes a prison”. I may suggest that if you want to protect the future of your children protect your teachers.
—The writer works as Library Officer at Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad.