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LARKANA: A division bench of the Sindh High Court at Larkana has asked the education secretary (schools) to revisit the existing policy of biometric data collection to avoid trouble to teachers.

The bench comprising Justice Zaffar Ahmed Rajput and Justice Mohammed Saleem Jessar was seized with a petition filed by Atta Mohammed Sakhani Chandio, a resident of Warah taluka.

The bench asked the official that if it appeared to him suitable, the process be decentralised and maintained up to the division level to avoid difficulties being faced by teachers in drawing their salaries after they were transferred from one school to another.

It observed that due to the present centralised biometric data policy, the teachers of primary schools were facing hardship in drawing their salaries and in matters pertaining to their transfer, posting.

The high court on Nov 30, 2017 had directed the district and sessions judge of Qambar-Shahdadkot to depute judicial magistrates with the task of inspecting primary schools and looking into their current status, enrolment, sanctioned posts of teachers and available/unavailable facilities.

The judge submitted his report in court and the director of schools (primary) also submitted his report. Both the reports were taken on record.

The district education officer (primary), Deedar Hussain Wagan, in his statement carried in the report put the sanctioned strength of teachers at 4,111 and said that 3,932 (3,109 male and 823 female) of them were currently working. He said that out of 1,537 schools, only 1,284 were functional. He said 253 were lying closed due to unavailability of local teachers and the tendencies in teachers of getting voluntary retirement to avoid biometric issues. A law and order situation and migration of families were the other factors.

The DEO informed court that the condition of 576 schools was satisfactory and 306 others needed repair. The buildings of 365 schools were dangerous while 270 others were shelter-less, he stated. According to him, the number of students enrolled in primary schools in Qambar-Shahdadkot district is 128,620 who are getting education in 2,980 classrooms.

The court was informed that the post of ‘director school education (primary)’ had been lying vacant for one year, prior to the posting of Anwaruddin Jamali on Aug 18, 2017. The bench said it was unfortunate perhaps that the officials concerned were unaware of the importance of primary education and that the post had been lying vacant for such a long period.

“Its consequences shall be nothing but collapse of entire primary education system which is detrimental to the interest of students and people of this part of province which is already suffering from a number of miseries — poverty, unemployment, worst law and order situation and poor health condition of the people.”

The bench asked the education secretary to allow the director education, recently posted to serve at least for three years, to properly manage the affairs.

Adjourning the matter to Jan 18, 2018, the bench directed the office and additional advocate-general to communicate a copy of the order to the education secretary asking him to take effective measures within the next 30 days.

Published in Dawn, December 17th, 2017