LAHORE: Punjab government’s action against hiring of private invigilators to conduct class-IX examination and abrupt posting of public school teachers for the purpose has not only created issues for the teachers, but also for the examination controllers of the boards of intermediate and secondary education (BISEs).

Lahore BISE had removed all private invigilators hired for the conduct of the class IX annual examination after finding that they were involved in facilitating cheating and were found giving favours to some candidates after receiving bribe from them.

To replace the private invigilators, teachers of public schools have been appointed in an abrupt move at the class-IX examination centres.

A Punjab Teachers Union (PTU) office-bearer told Dawn that the examination centres were facing an acute shortage of staff since the government has removed the private invigilators, replacing them with schoolteachers.

He termed the move ill-timed as the provincial school education department was already facing a shortage of around 125,000 teachers.

He says that many schoolteachers could not appear at the examination centres for performing investigator’s duty as they had been hastily posted at places situated far away from the areas where they reside.

He says the authorities concerned should have considered the factor of distance as these teachers have not been provided any transport facility to reach the exam centres.

The PTU representative adds that the issue becomes more serious when it comes to female teachers who were appointed as invigilators. As a result, he says, many female teachers could not report at the designated examination centres, causing delay in conduct of the examination at most of the centres.

To meet the staff shortage, he says, the superintendents of many exam centres had to appoint the staffer of nearby colleges as invigilators.

On the other hand, the PTU officer-bearers say that hundreds of schools were also facing shortage of teachers after the start of the new academic year in the province because of the government move of appointing teachers as invigilators.

Meanwhile, the Punjab government on Tuesday continued action against those involved in irregularities during class-IX examination.

Commissioner and Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE) Lahore acting chairman Muhammad Ali Randhawa conducted a surprise visit to an examination centre established in a private school of Shadman and suspended its superintendent after finding private invigilators at the centre.

He also ordered action against the superintendent under the Peeda Act while Lahore BISE controller of examination issued suspension orders of the superintendent.

Mr Randhawa also inspected the exam centre at the MAO College in the evening and found no private invigilator there.

He inspected the footage of the CCTV cameras installed in the centre and directed the controller to properly inform the teachers about their duties.

He also directed the controller to take strict action against the teachers who remain absent from their examination duties.

He said it was the responsibility of the deputy commissioner concerned and chief executive officer of the district to ensure the availability of the examination staff.

A couple of days ago, Punjab School Education Minister Rana Sikandar Hayat had removed Lahore BISE chairman and the controller examination for their alleged involvement in facilitating cheating during the ongoing class-IX annual exams.

A committee, headed by additional commissioner (coordination), had been constituted to investigate the complaints against the two officials.

Published in Dawn, April 3rd, 2024

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