SUKKUR: Students’ studies suffer amid a tug of war between new principal and a group of teachers enraged at her action against negligent and ghost teachers at the Government Islamia Ghat Girls High and Primary School.

Principal Fehmida Jabeen Abro told Dawn on Wednesday that after assuming charge as new head of the school on July 25 she called a meeting and asked teachers to abide by rules but they turned against her and started opposing everything she did to reform the school’s system and impose discipline.

She said the teachers were highly irked when she asked them to ensure attendance and started maintaining the record on their arrival and departure. She took action against a ghost teacher who she learnt had not attended school since 2007 as she lived in Islamabad but she received salary in connivance with office bearers of teachers’ union, she said.

She said the opposing teachers would call GSTA president Shahzad Abbasi and general secretary Khan Mohammad Bugti to the school from time to time who would harass the teachers who supported her.

They would threaten her that if she tried to change things they would get her transferred, she said. The union office bearers misbehaved with her and other teachers and asked them to boycott classes. Some teachers recorded their threats on cell-phone cameras which she sent to Sukkur commissioner and SSP along with letters, requesting them to provide her security and take action the delinquent union leaders, she said.

She said the school started in early 1950 with more than 500 students in those days but at present instead of an increase in the enrolment only 60 girls were admitted in primary school and 50 in higher classes.

She said that she had banned entry of male staff and unannounced and irksome visits by unconcerned people into the girls section after receiving threats from the union leaders. She had the school’s gates locked from inside and directed the watchman not to let anyone in without properly identifying him or her, she said, adding she had to take the strict measure to ensure safety of her students and teachers.

The primary and high schools were being run in one building with separate gates and there were 28 teachers in all, 14 in primary section for 60 student and 14 for 50 students in higher secondary section, she said.

Sources said that director of schools Azizullah Hakro had formed two teams to conduct inquiry into the school affairs and provided a pro forma to all teachers to fill it in and record their statements in writing. Some teachers complained the pro forma was incomplete as it did not mention main points which pertained to their complaints.

GSTA President Shahzad Abbasi denied all allegations leveled upon them by the principal and said he and other union office bearers were ready to appear before high-ups to face any inquiry against them.

The sources said that Ms Lubna, in-charge of science laboratory, whose husband worked in B.Ed college was an influential figure who led the group of teachers opposed to the new principal.

The sources said the high-ups did want to conduct an inquiry against harassment of the principal and ghost teachers but according to their own preferences. They did not want a fair and transparent inquiry which might go against them as they were equally responsible for the state of affairs at the schools, said the sources.

Sukkur Commissioner Mohammad Abbas Baloch said that he had not received any letter from the principal but he was in the know of the situation. He had already discussed it with SSP and asked him to provide security to the school staff and conduct a thorough inquiry into the threats to principal and teachers from some persons or union office bearers, he said.

Abdul Aziz Hakro, director of education, and DO (female education) Ms Zaib Mangi were not available for comments.

Published in Dawn September 29th, 2016