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BAHAWALPUR: Punjab Education Minister Rana Mashhood Khan conferred the VIP status on 10 schoolteachers to acknowledge their invaluable services on the occasion of the World Teachers Day here on Wednesday.

Inaugurating the district government’s pilot project, the minister also announced bringing the entire province under this project to honour the able and devoted teachers of all districts with the VIP status.

Mr Khan lauded the project, a brainchild of DCO Dr Ehtasham Anwar Mahar, and said the district had taken a lead in acknowledging the services of teachers.

He said the teachers deserved all praise for the building of a nation.

The minister said he foresaw a silent revolution in the country because of the best performance of government schools and their teachers.

He said he agreed with the DCOs’ vision regarding the deepest regards and honour of teachers who should be rewarded for this noble cause.

He said the government introduced a merit-based transfer policy for teachers.

Mr Khan claimed that the enrolment of students in schools had increased from 8 million to over 15 million within a short period.

He said the government had recruited 150,000 teachers last year in the province while another 70,000 more would be recruited during the current year. Punjab Minister for Cooperatives Malik M. Iqbal Channar said that teachers were the true guards of the nation.

Earlier, apprising the education minister of the project, the DCO said in his briefing that teachers were the integral part of society and it was decided to confer the VIP status on schoolteachers.

He said the symbolic move would not only make the entire society realize the importance and due respect it should give to teachers but it would also place an obligation on teachers to perform their duty more devotedly.

A special card would be issued to give effect to this status. In addition to the symbolic recognition, material benefits were also attached with the cards, he said.

The DCO said several businesses and service providers, including transport companies, hotels, restaurants, hospitals, laboratories, pharmacies, retailers, had entered into partnership agreements with the district administration whereby holders of these cards (teachers) would be given up to 50 per cent discount.

He said the transport companies would offer them special seats while doctors and other such service providers would attend to them without any prior appointment.

The DCO said that government offices would arrange one-window facility where teachers would not have to wait in queues.

He said they would not require permission to meet any functionary of the district administration and would simply walk into their offices.

Mr Channar, MPAs Muhammad Afzal Gill, Hasina Naz and others distributed VIP cards among teachers.

DPO Ishfaq Ahmed Khan announced that teachers would be given preference in issuance of traffic licenses and other police-related matters.

The recipients of VIP status cards are Ms Faiqa Shaheen Kausar, Muhammad Aslam Jhandhi, Mehran Ali, Farrukh Parvez, Allah Ditta Saeedi, Manzoor Bibi, Ms Naheed Kausar, Ms.Ghazala Fahim, Muuhmmad Arshad and Bahar Fida.

Published in Dawn, October 6th, 2016