Teachers and other employees in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa schools’ second shift program have been facing salary deprivation for the past four months, raising concerns about the program’s continuity. Despite funds being allocated to the authorities, approximately 8,000 teachers and employees have not received their salaries, leading to frustration among the staff members. As a result, some teachers and employees have even stopped working in the second shift program due to the non-payment of their dues.
According to sources in the education department, an amount of 33 million rupees has been released to the Deputy Commissioners and District Education Officers (DEOs) for the purpose of salaries. It is perplexing that the employees have not received their salaries despite the availability of funds.
Additional Secretary of the Education Department, Abdul Kareem, assures that the second shift program is functioning well across the province, and the necessary funds for employee salaries have been released and will be disbursed soon.
He urges the Deputy Commissioners and DEOs to expedite the process of salary disbursement so that the employees can resume their duties without any financial constraints.
The second shift program was initiated in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa schools in September 2021 as part of the ruling Tehreek-e-Insaf government’s efforts to enhance the education rate in the province.
The program aims to focus on students’ education in remote areas, reduce the dropout rate, bridge the education gap for children who are distant from educational institutions, and alleviate overcrowding in schools by dividing them into shifts. The program entails upgrading primary schools to middle schools, middle schools to high schools, and high schools to higher secondary schools for the evening shift.
Initially, over 70 boys’ schools and 40 girls’ schools in 16 districts were included in the second shift system. However, its scope has been expanded, and now more than 25 schools, including those in tribal districts, offer education to both boys and girls through the second shift program.
Representatives of the Schools Officers Association, including President Samiullah Khalil, Senior Vice President Salar Islam Tariq, and General Secretary Muhammad Zaman, highlight that the program was initially launched at the Government Higher Secondary School of Hayatabad. However, after a year, it was halted due to the non-payment of salaries to teachers and other employees. Initially, regular teachers taught the children on the second shift, but later thousands of teachers were hired on a contractual basis for the program across the province.
Although these employees are not permanent and do not have prospects for regularization in the future, it would be unfair to them if their salaries are not provided. The monthly salaries for teachers in the second shift range from 25,000 to 30,000 rupees. If their salaries are not met, it would not only be unjust to the teachers and employees but also have a detrimental impact on the program’s success.
The association representatives suggest that a comprehensive policy should have been developed before initiating the program to avoid the current situation. They point out that a similar program in Karachi has been successful, whereas parents in KP show less interest in enrolling their children in the second shift program. They believe that there has been no significant increase in the education rate as a result of the program.
They further emphasize that the termination or disruption of the second shift program would severely affect the literacy rate. More than 50,000 students would lose access to education, and numerous teachers, despite their contractual status and low salaries, would become unemployed.
Therefore, they urge the authorities to promptly release the salaries and develop a long-term policy to sustain the program in the future.