The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Elementary and Secondary Education (E&SE) Department has banned its employees from contacting female teachers in the province via phone or social media, a notification issued on Friday said.
The adviser to the KP chief minister for elementary and secondary education, Ziaullah Bangash, said the step was taken to curb incidents of harassment.
According to the notification, it was decided at a "high-level meeting" of the education department that all staff members — from the junior clerk to the superintendent — working in the offices of female District Education Officers (DEO) "will not contact any female teacher in connection with any official matter/issue" through telephone or WhatsApp.
In addition, "no such thing will be shared on social media/Facebook in this regard" by the male staff members of ministerial cadre. In KP, female DEOs are responsible for girls' schools and male DEOs for boys' schools.
In future, all such communication with the female staff or teachers of schools will be carried out by female officers or officials working in the DEO offices, according to a notification sent to all concerned departments and schools by the KP Directorate of E&SE in Peshawar.
And in case any male clerk or officer is reported to have violated this directive, the concerned female DEO "will be held responsible" and dealt with in accordance with the relevant rules, the notification said.
Adviser Bangash told DawnNewsTV that the step was taken after the education department received "a number of harassment complaints" from female teaching staff.
He said in the future only female staff members should communicate with female teachers so that they may feel comfortable.
“The department has [also] planned to establish an anti-harassment complaint [cell] headed by a female officer. The cell would comprise two male and three female officers,” he revealed.