‘Sharp rise noticed in number of drug addicted teachers’
FAIZABAD (Pajhwok): A number of students in northeastern Badakhshan province allege some of their teachers are addicted to drugs, leaving far-reaching negative impact on their studies.
“When a teacher comes to class, he is high on drugs and fall asleep in a corner,” said Abdul Mohsin who is a graduate of Roshan High School in Sheghnan district.
He said an addicted teacher could not convey his message to students and while teaching they could not remember much of the lessons themselves.
Abdul Mohsin who could not pass the Kankur or entry test told Pajhwok Afghan News: “The students study, but presence of such addicted and unprofessional teachers is really a serious matter of concern for the entire education sector.”
Of 30 teachers that teach at the Roshan High School, half of them are drug addicted, he remarked.
Talabuddin Qaderi, deputy provincial council member, expressed concerns about the surging number of addicted teachers, questioning how teachers could teach when they fell asleep in the classroom.
He added this was one of the reasons that not a single student passed Kankur exams from eight schools in the district. He urged the education officials to pay utmost heed to tackle the problem.
There are more than 640 schools in Badakhshan where 328,000 students are studying under the guidance of 10,000 teachers. But more than 50 per cent of the teachers are non-professionals or religious teachers who teach mathematics and science.
Local officials say more than 160 teachers are addicted in districts bordering neighboring Tajikistan. These teachers are mostly addicted to heroin and opium.
Mohammad Akram, an experienced teacher in the province, said one of the rules of becoming a teacher was that the individuals should not be addicted to any drugs because it would affect students and their performance.
Akram said the problem has been there since last 12 years at Badakhshan schools but it has not been addressed.
Fariba, an official at education department, said: “Four years ago, eight addicted teachers were introduced to us from Wakhan district. We referred them to a rehabilitation centre in Faizabad, but instead of getting rehabilitated they immediately returned back to their jobs.”
She said in other districts also there were many addicted teachers but their numbers were not known. The problem, she added, had existed for years now.
Lutfullah Jahid, another official at education department, said teachers’ behavior had direct impact on students. The ongoing situation, he warned, could also add to the number of addicted students.
Jahid said the government should work on a plan to either rehabilitate teachers or sack them.
Abdul Salam Wafa, principal of Sayef Shahid School in Faizabad, said there were many addicted teachers in the provincial capital also. “We still have such teachers at our school, but they deny being addicts.”
In line with rules, he said, a student who is seen smoking cigarettes should be suspended for ten days and strict rules should be put in place in educational institutions.
Sayed Shamsuddin, director of education department, confirmed presence of addicted teachers in schools of border districts, saying some of them had been transferred to other districts and if they did not leave addiction they would be sacked.
He added a representative from the provincial capital would be sent to the bordering districts for inspection and if any teacher was found addicted they would be introduced to rehab centres.
Deputy Governor Gul Mohammad Bedar said these teachers were not prepared to go to rehab centres because they were concerned about their income.
He said based on their information, at least 163 addicted teachers were in the bordering districts. “We’re planning to sack these teachers in coordination with the education department because their presence has negative impact on children.”
Sayed Anamuddin Sadaat, labours’ union head, was of the opinion that addicted teachers had the right to work, but should be introduced to rehab centres.
He added their wages should not be affected since they also had family and children.
Dr. Mohammad Noor Khawari, director public health, said recent figures showed that 30,000 people including women and children were addicted in the province. It showed that the figures had doubled since 2010.
Insecurity and unemployment, he said, were the major reasons for spike in the figures.
A newly-released survey showed number of addicts in Afghanistan touched three million people, showing a sharp rise from 1.6 million back in 2012. According to the survey 11% of the Afghan population was addicts that were highest in the world.
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