THE Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) has issued a list of supervisors and enumerators to conduct the national census. This duty is assigned to the teachers, with those in BPS-17 or above being the supervisors, and those in the lower grades being the enumerators.

As a result, teachers must now carry out censuses door to door. Teachers were not asked for consent. Instead, their names were given against their will. Additionally, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) released another list carrying the names of teachers who would be doing election duties. Again, no teacher was asked for consent. Everything was done without giving the teachers a choice. Teachers refusing to comply for even the most logical and legitimate of reasons would face an inquiry at the very least.

A while ago, teachers in Sindh were given the assignment to survey the homes damaged by the floods that hit the country last year. Surprisingly, no teacher received reimbursement for their trips or survey costs for that work. They were not provided with even meals while on duty. All the logistics had to be managed by the teachers themselves.

Prior to that, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) had released a list of teachers who were to survey the common people to determine the rate of Covid vaccination. And, yes, nobody had the courtesy to seek consent. I can quote innumerable examples that make the life of government teachers one big nuisance.

Why are teachers given these assignments and so regularly? Why are teachers the most vulnerable ones when it comes to such ‘assignments’ that have nothing to do with their professional duties? Why should teachers bear all the responsibilities?

People often say teachers are not respected in society. When you knock on doors for surveys every two to four months, deal with people’s wrath, and deal with offensive people who are not ready to engage in surveys, how can you expect respect?

And the humiliation of teachers does not end there. Following that, you must hear the stern instructions from your reporting officers. How could anyone expect to respect teachers after all this?

The authorities of all shades and hues should spare the teachers and allow them to do their job, especially when the country already has the education sector largely in a pathetic condition.

Talat Aziz
Hyderabad

Published in Dawn, January 28th, 2023

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