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Daily-wage teachers protest outside accountability court

January 24, 2018


Daily-wage teachers and non-teaching staff raise slogans during a demonstration on Tuesday. — White Star
Daily-wage teachers and non-teaching staff raise slogans during a demonstration on Tuesday. — White Star

ISLAMABAD: Daily-wage teachers working at schools operated by the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) protested outside the accountability court on Tuesday, where former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz appeared in connection with the Panama Papers case.

Carrying placards demanding regularisation, the teachers chanted slogans against the government and attempted to stop Mr Sharif’s vehicle, to protest the Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) and the FDE – which runs their schools – for not regularising their services or paying them since July 2017.

The teachers attempted to stop the former prime minister’s vehicles to hand over a charter of demands, but the vehicle sped away.

Around 2,000 daily-wage teaching and non-teaching staff have been working at FDE-run educational institutions for several years, but the government has not taken meaningful steps to regularise the services who were appointed on merit and meet the criteria for eligibility.

“Those who are not eligible should be sent home, while the services of those who meet the criteria and have been producing the best results for the last many years should be regularised,” an FDE official said, commenting on Tuesday’s protest.

Led by Rabia Waheed, Nadeemul Haq and others, the teachers said the government had discriminated against them by regularising the services of daily-wage workers in other departments but refusing to regularise theirs’.

The teachers have been participating in a boycott for the last few weeks, at a time when annual examinations are approaching.

The boycott of already-understaffed educational institutions is affecting student activities, FDE official said.

The teachers also said that although they have been teaching for years, rather than regularise their services the FDE recently advertised 200 teaching positions, which they said was an injustice.

The Islamabad High Court had recently ruled that all daily-wage staffers at FDE-run institutions who were appointed without following due procedure and the principles of transparency were illegal.

Following the judgement, the FDE decided to appoint new teachers up to grade 14 through open competition, while daily-wage employees would be given 5pc grace marks and age relaxation.

Teachers in grade 16 and above would be appointed through the Federal Public Service Commission.

When contacted, FDE Director General Hasnat Qureshi said efforts were being made to have the Ministry of Finance release funds early.

He said the FDE and CADD have moved a summary seeking a grant of Rs314 million from the finance ministry to pay the pending salaries.

“A committee formed by CADD Minister Dr Tariq Chaudhry is looking into the issue of tje regularisation of daily-wage teachers,” he said.

Published in Dawn, January 24th, 2018