KARACHI: The Sindh High Court has been informed that around 540 viable closed schools have been reopened, but currently 2,769 similar government schools are without teachers in the province.

A single bench of the SHC comprising Justice Salahuddin Panhwar was also informed that the recruitment process of teachers had been restarted and a committee was also notified about increase in the strength of schools as per census figures.

Regarding budget for repair of such schools, government officials submitted that the finance department had been approached on the subject matter and it was decided that in the first phase, 250 public-sector schools would be selected and the same was also recommended by the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

The SHC issued a show-cause notice to the additional finance secretary over his absence without prior intimation and summoned the finance secretary with the direction to appear and provide an explanation for the delay in approving the statement of new expenditures (SNEs) submitted by the education department for revival of closed schools.

Bench directs SPSC to ensure recruitment of schoolteachers within three months

The court was hearing a petition filed in 2019 and previously it had passed various orders on the subject matter.

At the last hearing, the court had ordered the education authorities to frame recruitment rules after it was informed that over 7,000 teachers of public schools in the province were set to retire by December 2025.

The SHC had also directed them to make a policy and ensure that not a single school was closed due to lack of teaching staff and initiate the process to fill the likely vacant posts in six months before retirement of such teachers.

At the outset of the hearing, the secretary of school education department filed a report in compliance with the previous court order which reflected that education authorities had issued reminders to the Sindh Public Service Commission (SPSC) regarding appointment of teachers.

The bench directed the chairman of the SPSC to ensure completion of recruitment process within three months.

The report also asserted that directions had been issued by the department to all directorates of school education and district education officers to post newly recruited teachers in viable closed schools from where teachers would be retiring in next four months on a top priority basis.

The bench in its order said, “Deputy secretary law present contends that subject specialist teachers as recommended by the SPSC will be issued appointment orders within 15 days. Further, it reflects that approximately 540 viable closed schools have been opened and currently 2,769 viable schools are without teachers in Sindh. However, the recruitment process has been restarted. With regard to the increase in the strength of schools as per census, a committee has been notified”.

It also observed that earlier, it had directed the secretary of education to sanction the SNEs of all those schools, which had been closed, and make these schools functional while the finance department was also ordered to approve all the summaries regarding SNEs of education department for revival of such schools.

However, the bench said that the additional secretary of finance department was found absent without prior intimation and issued him a show-cause notice as well as issued directive to the secretary of finance to appear and provide an explanation.

“The SNEs shall be approved forthwith, in accordance with the orders issued by this Court, to ensure the uninterrupted provision of education, which is enshrined as a fundamental right of every citizen”, it added.

The bench asked the secretary of school education to submit a comprehensive record of all funds received from various foreign donors over the past five years and warned that in case of non-compliance, the secretary must be required to appear in person.

It also directed the school education department to implement a policy similar to the one adopted by the college department, which mandated a minimum service period for newly-appointed teachers within their assigned districts and all appointment orders issued to new teachers should explicitly include a clause outlining the consequences of violating the transfer policy and such consequences may include the recall of the appointment order if a teacher prematurely seeks transfer outside of his assigned district.

Published in Dawn, May 25th, 2024

Opinion

Editorial

Kindness needed
Updated 20 Jun, 2024

Kindness needed

This year’s World Refugee Day theme — solidarity with refugees — includes keeping our borders accessible and addressing the hurdles they face.
Fitch’s budget note
20 Jun, 2024

Fitch’s budget note

PAKISTAN’S ongoing economic crisis is multifaceted. At one end, the government must pursue stabilisation policies...
Cruelty to animals
20 Jun, 2024

Cruelty to animals

TWO recent incidents illustrate the immense cruelty many in this country subject voiceless animals to. In the first...
Price bombs
Updated 18 Jun, 2024

Price bombs

It just wants to take the easy route and enjoy the ride for however long it is in power.
Palestine’s plight
Updated 17 Jun, 2024

Palestine’s plight

While the faithful across the world are celebrating with their families, thousands of Palestinian children have either been orphaned, or themselves been killed by the Israeli aggressors.
Profiting off denied visas
Updated 19 Jun, 2024

Profiting off denied visas

The staggering rejection rates underscore systemic biases in the largely non-transparent visa approval process.