MEHTARLAM (Pajhwok): Officials say 700 contract schoolteachers in eastern Laghman province have been fired after the coronavirus outbreak — an issue affecting the education process.
Pajhwok Afghan News findings show there is one teacher for 46 students. At least 214,000 students are enrolled in Laghman schools.
Based on regulations of the Ministry of Education, there should be one instructor for every 35 students.
Laghman Education Director Abdullah Hamidi, in an interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, said there were 277 schools, including 122 high schools, in he province.
Of these schools, 61 are secondary while 94 others are primary, the official explained, saying there were 4,672 teachers and 214,000 students in the province.
He said that 700 teachers, appointed on a contract basis, had been sacked due to the coronavirus outbreak.
“Around 700 teachers, who were very helpful in the education process,have been fired. Their positions are now vacant,taking a roll on education,” he remarked.
“We are faced with a shortage of teachers, forcing us to task supervisors with teaching duties,” he revealed.
Based on Ministry of Education rules,Hamidi said, there should be one teacher for 35 students.But currently there is one teacher for around 70 students in Laghman.
Normally, the official said, a teacher should work 24 hours a week. Bit in Laghman,he continued, every teacher worked for 36 hours a week.
“This much workload puts pressure on instructors and may not be helpful for students either,” the director believed.
Hamidi said they had also been faced with a shortage of textbooks over the last six years.
Nabi Gul, a contract teacher who was recently fired, said he was excited about his job. He regretted being sacked due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Unfortunately I lost my job due to the coronavirus,disturbing my economy on the one side and affecting the education process on the other.
“We have not received our salaries for the last three months,” Gul complained.
Musa Jan, another sacked teacher from Qarghayee district,complained they had been removed in violation of their contracts with the ministry.
“We had a contract for one year. But after the Covid-19 breakout, we were removed.Contract teachers were very helpful in promoting education,” he claimed.
Mansoor Jabarkhel, a regular teacher in Qarghayee district, grumbled: “We work for the entire week. It is difficult for us, as there are up to 80 students in each class. This can also damage the future of students.”
Meanwhile, students also complained about the shortage of teachers, something that could harm their future.
A student of Rokhan High School said: “Every week, we have no teachers for hours. There are a few teachers at our school and they cannot teach all classes.”
Director Hamidi said they had shared the issue with the Ministry of Education which promised to resolve the problem.
The shortage of schoolteachers is a problem being encountered by almost all provinces of the country.