The decision of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to arm teachers at educational institutes in the wake of the Peshawar massacre has been slammed by the academics.
A meeting of an all primary schoolteachers association in Buner, headed by Akbar Ali Bacha, refused to arm teachers during school hours, demanding to be provided with security at schools by the state.
The state government has reportedly started issuing arm licenses to schools to bolster security across the province, which adjoins Pakistan’s militancy-plagued tribal belt and borders Afghanistan.
Imtiaz Gilani, the vice-chancellor of Peshawar Engineering University has also opposed the idea of allowing teachers to take weapons into educational institutions
“A teacher’s job is not to engage himself in security related issues but to teach students. Students of colleges or universities may not feel threatened by an armed teacher but definitely it will have highly negative impact on school children,” he said while talking to media.
Gilani suggested that instead of putting the burden of security on teachers, the government should re-allocate government funds to increased law-enforcement personnel and help schools to improve security measures.
“I hope sanity will prevail and the government will reverse this decision,” he added.
Dr. Shahid Iqbal, the head of the Department of Psychology at Urdu University Karachi, has also slammed the decision.
“This is the most stupid idea vis-a-vis security of educational institutions, I have ever seen,” he said.
“One does not have to be genius to figure out the psychological impact on a student who knows that he is being taught by an armed person. He will feel threatened and insecure.”
He feared that an argument between an armed teacher and students, especially in a college or the university, could lead to another tragedy.
“This is a well-known fact that the people of KP province are more stressed and scared than people of any other province because of a long spell of terrorism there. In these circumstances, a panicked or distressed teacher may take any unpleasant and undesirable action,” he speculated.
The move, announced by provincial information minister Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani on January 12 intends to allow teachers to “engage terrorists” while waiting for security forces to respond.