More than 70 thousand teachers facing uncertainty for their future

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Lahore: Naseem Malik, a female high school teacher’s three-year contract with School Education Department (SED) Punjab has ended but she still awaits her prospect.

Her salary is due for the last six months as a result of which she is currently facing monetary problems. “I was working as Senior Elementary School Educator in grade 14 since my appointment. Having a bachelor’s degree in education is the condition for the renewal of my contract which has been fulfilled but still there is no optimism for any good future,” she told News Lens Pakistan.

The Secretary General Punjab Teachers Union, Rana Liaqat asserts that more than 70 thousand teachers were waiting for the renewal of their contracts, some were being paid while others were not after the completion of the contract.  “Those getting paid even after the end of contract are really working under vagueness. The agreement of the teachers reaching age of 35 or above during contract period must be renewed,” said Liaqat.  Although our demand is to have them as permanent staff, but we can accept renewal of the contract for a while, Liaqat added.

Since 2010, more than 70 thousand teachers have been engaged on three-year contract from time to time according to the Secretary SED Punjab, Abdul Jabbar Shaheen. “These teachers have been hired between grades 9 to 18. For grades 17 and 18, subject Specialists, headmasters, senior subject specialists and senior headmasters were appointed through Public Service Commission (PCS) but on indenture basis,” said Shaheen.

He told News Lens Pakistan that the teachers on contract were getting paid more than regular staff and social security benefits were also offered to the latter.

Shortly before the 2013 general elections, Shahbaz Sharif, then Chief Minister of the Punjab, issued a notification. He had confirmed that all employees recruited on agreement basis will become permanent but Supreme Court of Pakistan nullified the order holding it against the rules of Election Commission.

Soon after joining the Chief Minister’s office, Sharif reissued the notice. Since then employees have been attaining permanent position in almost all departments excluding School Education Department, the Secretary General Punjab Teachers Association, Kashif Shahzad told News Lens Pakistan. “It’s untoward that policy of Education Department is not stable. It’s truly affecting teachers’ performance. This is the main reason behind the worsening state of public education institutions,” he further stated.

President Punjab Teachers Union, Syed Sajjad Akbar Kazmi said the policy was illogical, as the government could have saved millions of rupees per year by creating permanent positions for teachers. “On the one hand, the department held shortage of resources as the main reason for the issue while on the other hand it doesn’t consider saving millions of rupees which is a contradiction and an example of non-serious attitude to resolve the issue,” he said.

On February 16, 2007, the then Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi approved Teachers Performance Incentive to evaluate the performance. Under the policy, the performance of teachers would be evaluated before the renewal of the contract or offering them permanent status.

 

Minister for Education Punjab Rana Mashood told News Lens Pakistan that the Education Department has asked for a detailed report about the staff working on contract basis and the process of evaluation has already commenced. “I have instructed to escalate the evaluation process so that people who have fulfilled the task and done well during their period will get new contract.” The matter of giving them permanent status is also in discussion with the Chief Minister Punjab. I am hopeful that our government will give them good news very soon, he said.

 

 

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