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Education Watch

January 12, 2018

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FDE yet to place order for textbooks

FDE is again more than two months late in placing an order for printing new textbooks this time. — File photo
FDE is again more than two months late in placing an order for printing new textbooks this time. — File photo

The Federal Directorate of Education (FDE), which is often late in delivering textbooks to thousands of students at the beginning of every new academic session, is more than two months late in placing an order for printing new textbooks this time.

Thousands of students may therefore have to start the new academic year without textbooks.

The order should have been placed in November, a senior FDE official told Dawn, adding that the order has still not been put in. He said a meeting will be held on Friday in this regard.

The FDE gets textbooks published through the National Book Foundation (NBF) every year but the directorate did not place an order with the foundation for books for primary classes due to litigation between authors and the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training. It has placed an order with the NBF for publishing books for class six through to class ten.

The education ministry has developed a new curriculum for primary classes for the upcoming academic session and after finalising the curriculum, it advertised for hiring the services of authors for writing the books.

Authors who were already engaged with NBF and used to write books for FDE-run schools challenged the education ministry’s advertisement in a court and got a stay order in their favour. They pleaded that the hiring of new authors will deprive them of their jobs. This litigation between the authors and the ministry has put the FDE in a difficult situation.

The FDE official Dawn talked to said if the issue is not resolved in the next few days, the directorate will ask the NBF to publish books under the old curriculum.

FDE Director General Hasnat Qureshi told Dawn a few days ago that efforts were being made to resolve the issue.

“We have to deliver textbooks to students in the new academic year and we are late,” he said.

The federal government has been providing students with free textbooks for many years but the books have not reached them in time every year.

Body to resolve daily wage teacher’s issues

Teachers protest outside the National Press Club. —White Star
Teachers protest outside the National Press Club. —White Star

The state minister for Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) on Thursday formed a committee to resolve the issue of daily wage employees working in institutions run by the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE).

Some 2,000 daily-wage employees, most of whom are teachers, are currently boycotting work to protest against the government for not paying their salaries since July last year.

According to a CADD press release, a delegation of teachers held a meeting with CADD minister Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry, who assured them he will play his role in releasing funds for their salaries from the finance ministry.

He formed a committee- consisting of teachers, FDE and CADD officials, the deputy mayors and lawyers- and tasked it with looking into the issue of regularising the services of daily wage teaching and non-teaching staff while keeping in view the recent judgement of the Islamabad High Court which had termed the appointment of daily-wage teachers illegal.

FDE officials said the teachers’ protests have affected the operation of schools, most of which were understaffed anyways.

Following the judgement, the FDE had decided to appoint new teachers up to grade 14 through open competition and that daily-wage employees will be given 5pc grace points and age relaxation. Teachers in grade 16 and above will be appointed through the Federal Public Service Commission.

Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2018