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SAHIWAL: The school education department through a notification abolished 4,515 posts of district teachers educators (DTEs) appointed in 36 districts of Punjab.

The DTEs had been working for 10 years and were removed from their jobs on May 5 without providing an explanation. The future of these permanent schoolteachers’ trainers working in grades 12, 14 and 16 now hangs in balance. The question is whether they will be permanently relieved from service or sent back to their mother department.

Directorate of Staff Development (DSD) is the apex certified institution under school education department working for professional capacity building of working schoolteachers across Punjab. The DSD website claims their basic purpose is to provide “pre-service and in-service training to public schoolteachers and one stop shop for capacity building needs of schoolteachers in Punjab”.

DTEs working for 10 years asked to report to education CEO in each district

In 2010, DSD selected 4,515 teachers, trained them and tasked them with professionally improving capacity of teaching staff appointed in public schools. Although the selected candidates were basically Grade 12 and 14 schoolteachers, while becoming DTEs they were awarded Rs10,000 extra in salary. They were also told that they would be promoted through the programme to Grade 17 and 18. They were supposed to work in clusters at district level and each DTE’s was to develop capacity of 10 to 12 high and middle public schoolteachers.

Rana Naveed Khalid, divisional president of the DTE association, told Dawn that the project was running well and the department had received satisfactory feedback. All DTEs were presently working on Continuous Professional Programme under the DSD.

Syed Iftikhar, Khanewal district president of the DTE association, told Dawn on the phone that presently 140 teachers’ educators, 4,200 DTEs, 35 data entry operators, 35 junior clerks, 70 drivers and 35 naib qasids were working in 36 district teacher support centres and its provincial secretariat.

“They were suddenly informed through a notification dated May 5 by school education secretary that their posts were abolished,” he added.

Zeeshan, DTE association provincial president, said that interestingly the education secretary in the same notification mentioned that he had written to the finance department for abolition of these posts.

“All DTEs were informed that they have no salary w.e.f May 5, 2017.”

The district and provincial office-bearers of DTEs association demanded the department provide reasons for abolition of their jobs. Zeeshan said there was unrest among the 4,500 teachers. ​He claimed that in many districts protests were also organised by local chapters of DTE association in the last two weeks. The association demanded the teachers be sent back to their mother department and their services not be suspended till appointment on new posts.

A source close to the situation told Dawn on anonymity that the primary education department planned to send these teachers’ trainers to the Academic Development Programme of DSD. Presently, all teachers had been asked to report to the education chief executive officer in each district.

Mushtaq Adil Kathiya, divisional president of the Punjab SES Teacher Association, said the department must devise a workable strategy to adjust these teachers in its mother department. Khalid feared that the department could seek time, which would cause financial constraints for them and their families.

“Practically speaking, the DTEs don’t know where they will get their regular salary from May 5,” Zeeshan added.

Published in Dawn, May 20th, 2017