19,000 teachers in Sindh await salaries for past one year

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KARACHI: More than 19,000 primary, secondary and high school teachers who were appointed in 2014 by provincial education department Sindh have not been given salaries for last one year.

These teachers were recruited by the provincial education department under a special program sponsored by international donors like World Bank and European Union. The purpose of this sponsorship was to make education better in the province.

President of Government School Teachers’ Association (GSTA) Sindh Ashraf Khaskheli said, “How can someone perform when he is not given salary for his work?” During a telephonic interview with News Lens Pakistan Khaskheli said that the Sindh government officially appointed more than 19,000 teachers but they were not being paid.

Majority of these teachers belong to Reform Support Unit (RSU), a special initiative started by Sindh government in 2006 to manage Education Sector Reforms and improve the education system.

In 2014, World Bank gave US$400 million to support the Second Sindh Education Sector Reform Program. Under which the provincial government, through a lengthy process, recruited these teachers in primary, secondary and high schools of Sindh.

Education sector in Sindh is deteriorating. In recent years, many ghost schools and ghost teachers were reported in the province after which the international donor agencies came forward to help the provincial government to recover the education sector in Sindh.

Due to the nonpayment of the salaries, the teachers are facing problems. “I was working in private sector on a good position with big salary package, but when I got selected as a teacher in the public sector, I preferred to join thinking it was a more secure job. But now there is no salary, due to which I am facing many problems,” Shabana Chandio of Badin district told News Lens Pakistan in a telephonic interview.

According to the official record of the Sindh Education Department, in 2013, the RSU received PKR 23 billion from World Bank and PKR 16 billion in 2014 were handed over to the unit so that it could work well. The European Union also gave Euro 39 million in 2010. Despite getting such huge funds, the RSU could not achieve the targeted results.

According to a recent report of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), 5.5 million children of school going age in Pakistan are out of school, out of these 5.5 million children, 61 percent or 33.5 million children belong to Sindh alone.

Minister for Education Sindh Nisar Ahmad Khuhro confirmed that his department has delayed the salaries of these recruited teachers. “Delay in the salaries is not deliberate but there is a lengthy official procedure,” he told News Lens Pakistan.

He added that his department hired large number of teachers in a very short span of time and after hiring, department has sent their academic documents to the concerned universities and other educational institutes for verification, which got late and the department couldn’t release salaries in time.

He also revealed that a large number of these teachers were also hired through a bogus procedure and the department does not own them, therefore their salaries were not paid.  “We are working on it and soon it will be resolved and even we have started issuing salaries of some of the teachers,” Khuhro said.

“These teachers are hired by government, how can their appointment be bogus? It is a strange attitude, all these teachers have passed through a competitive examination of National Testing Service for this job,” Khaskheli President GSTA Sindh reacted.

He threatened that if the Sindh Government doesn’t release the salaries of the teachers, his association the GSTA (a union of teachers that claims to have 62,000 members across Sindh) will soon launch a series of protest across Sindh against Sindh education department.

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