ISLAMABAD: After four years, Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) will finally have a regular director general (DG) as Prime Minister Imran Khan approved appointment for the post today.

The directorate, a supervisory body for 423 educational institutions in Islamabad, has been without a regular head since December 2016, however, on Friday educationist Dr Ikram Ali Malik was chosen for the grade 21 post for three years.

According to an official from the education ministry, a formal notification for appointment of the new DG will be issued in the next few days. Mr Malik earlier served as chairman of Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (FBISE) where he introduced several new policies to facilitate students whereas, he stream lined the system during his short posting as secretary Inter Board Committee of Chairmen (IBCC).

The new DG, he pointed out, will have to face several challenges as FDE and its subordinate colleges and schools have been facing many issues, adding, he will be responsible for restoring FDE’s reputation, which has been facing criticism from lawmakers because of its poor performance.

Apart from this, some issues that need to be resolved as soon as possible include delay in salaries and regularisation of services of daily-wage teachers, hiring of drivers and cleaners for procured buses, irrational transfers, lack of funds for maintenance and repair, resumption of sports in educational institutions, shortage of subject specialist teachers and so on.

Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood is aware of all these problems which is why he opted to hire the new DG through a competitive process.

For the first time in the history of the directorate, a DG has been hired contractually as applications from qualified people were received, he said, adding the credit for this goes to the education minister who will work with Mr Malik to introduce reform in the best interest of students.

Currently, Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Authority (Peira) Chairperson Zia Batool is the acting director general of the directorate.

After the PTI government assumed power, rules were changed and it was decided that instead of posting a grade 20 government official or teacher, a professional should be hired for a three-year tenure after going through a competitive process in Grade 21 and in this regard the ministry upgraded the post of DG from grade 20 to 21.

Published in Dawn, October 24th, 2020