LAHORE: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government has failed to appoint regular chairmen of seven boards of intermediate and secondary education in the province, while it is completing its first 100 days.
Almost all important and top posts of BS-19 and BS-20 in education boards in Gujranwala, Sargodha, Sahiwal, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Multan and Bahawalpur are lying vacant for the past over one and a half years and ad hocism is reigning supreme. The boards have conducted matriculation and intermediate as well as their supplementary examinations without the top boss in the office.
Punjab Higher Education Minister Raja Yasir Humayun says the department had evolved selection criteria for boards’ chairmen afresh besides forming a search committee for the purpose.
Slots lying vacant for last one and half years
Answering a question that the department had not yet issued an advertisement to begin the process [for selection], Mr Humayun said, “We have sent a summary to the chief minister and waiting for its return with our fingers crossed.”
It may be mentioned that the minister had told Dawn in the beginning of October that the boards would have regular chairmen by the first week of November.
Divisional commissioners also served as [respective] seven boards acting chairmen but most of them never attended [boards] offices that halted boards’ important as well as sensitive working. However, they charged their dues accordingly and [in some cases] got late-sitting allowances – without any accountability.
Early this month, the Punjab governor had [for the first time] intervened in the boards’ affairs and ordered relieving divisional commissioners of the additional charge. He offered additional charge of Bahawalpur, Faisalabad and Sargodha boards’ chairmen to colleges’ principals serving in BS-20, while the Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Sahiwal and Multan boards’ chairmen office charge was given to respective boards’ secretaries serving in BS-19.
The order says that the acting chairmen have been appointed for a period of four months or till the arrival of a regular incumbent, whichever is earlier.
Since there is no permanent solution to the problem, a new debate has begun in boards as to how a person can hold the posts of board secretary and chairman simultaneously as the earlier one is a procurement and procedural authority and the latter is sanctioning authority. “Who will maintain check and balance?” a board official asked.
The official says the boards have suffered a serious setback owing to suspension of active working in boards that range from procurements to make arrangements and hold examinations as well as mark papers in a fair and transparent manner.
The official says the boards’ budgets remained stuck, vehicles parked without repair and maintenance.
During the PML-N rule, the Punjab higher education department had tried to induct bureaucrats as boards’ chairmen while offering them MP-I scale. It twice advertised the [chairmen] posts during the second half of 2017 but even the lucrative salary package could not woo the bureaucrats. The then higher education department secretary had believed that only sharp and ingenious bureaucrats could take the education boards a few notches up.
While the bureaucrats did not show interest, the search committee had shortlisted and interviewed the candidates from amongst the senior and experienced educationists and submitted its recommendations in favour of top candidates. The department had, however, aborted the whole selection process leaving the education boards struggling without their heads.
Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2018