Teachers up in arms against govt’s move to place Islamabad schools under mayor

Published November 27, 2021
Teachers stage protest outside the Federal Directorate of Education in this file photo. — INP
Teachers stage protest outside the Federal Directorate of Education in this file photo. — INP

• Under new ordinance, local govt will manage primary, elementary and secondary education in Islamabad
• Minister backs decision, says education ministry will supervise college and higher education
• All 33 colleges placed under administrative control of Federal College of Education

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Federal Education has shown its support for the federal government’s plan of placing school education in Islamabad under the administrative control of the yet to be elected mayor while teaching and non-teaching staff are up in arms against the move.

The teaching and non-teaching staff of schools formed an action committee and decided that from Tuesday they would start boycotting classes against the decision, saying placing education under the local government was an anti-education decision.

Speaking to Dawn, Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood supported the ordinance under which the mayor will be the reporting officer of the FDE head. He said his ministry will supervise college and higher education. He said placing school education under the mayor was a good decision.

“Elected mayor, who will get vote of public, should have the right to say in school education affairs and I support this move. As far as college and university education, the ministry of education will supervise it,” the minister said, adding the ministry will play a guiding role for the local government.

According to the ordinance related to the local government promulgated by President Dr Arif Alvi recently, the director general of the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) will report to the mayor for all purposes of education. Moreover, the head of the FDE shall be appointed with the consent of the mayor.

The local government will be responsible for management of primary, elementary and secondary education facilities.

Meanwhile, two days before approval of theordinance, the ministry of education decided to place all the 33 colleges in Islamabad under the administrative control of the Federal College of Education, H-9, which is a subordinate organisation of the ministry.

Earlier, the FDE was supposed to regulate all the 423 public schools and colleges in Islamabad. However, after a notification issued by the ministry on November 22, now the 33 colleges are part of the Education College and FDE has no longer a supervisory role on them. This means after the local government elections when the FDE will be devolved to the local government, the mayor will have no say in the affairs of the colleges.

Many of the colleges have school sections as well and it is yet to be decided what will be the fate of these school sections.

Meanwhile, the associations of schoolteachers, non-teaching staff and school heads have decided to oppose the move.

Their action committee headed by Fazal-i-Mola through a statement said on Monday that the committee will start an awareness campaign in all educational institutions and from Tuesday they will start boycotting classes.

Schoolteachers Association President Malik Ameer Khan said a protest rally will also be organised.

“We will not accept this Act. Educational institutions should remain part of the education ministry,” he said.

On the other hand, college teachers have been supporting the ministry’s move of placing colleges under the control of the Federal College of Education, H-9.

President of the teachers of Federal Government Colleges has welcomed this move.

President College Teachers Association Dr Rahima Rehman said: “This was our longstanding demand that the higher education setup of ICT (colleges) should be administered by the federal ministry without any involvement of the FDE. We are now very optimistic about the resolution of our issues under the umbrella of the ministry,” she said.

The tenure of the local government ended in February this year and the government was supposed to hold new elections within 120 days. However, the elections are yet to be held. Recently, the government got the ordinance approved from the cabinet and was promulgated. However, it is not clear whether the government will hold the elections on the basis of the ordinance or will enact a law through parliament.

The life of the ordinance is 120 days, extendable for one more term. Currently, the Election Commission of Pakistan is in the process of completing delimitation of constituencies/wards and will issue a final list in February.

Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2021

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