LAHORE: A day after exempting schoolteachers from census duties, the Punjab government has reversed its decision reportedly on the insistence of the federal government. The teachers will now carry out their examination as well as the population count duties along with officers from government departments.
The School Education Department (SED) has, however, been directed to make sure no there is no clash of schedules between the census training and the Punjab Examination Commission (PEC) examinations of Class-V and Class-VIII.
Schoolteachers across the province will begin training for the upcoming census from today (Monday) as the provincial government has decided to retract its earlier decision of not using their services.
According to reports, the decision was taken late Saturday evening on the intervention of a federal minister, who asked the Punjab government not to withdraw teachers from census services.
The decision to withdraw the earlier order on a weekend took many teachers by surprise as the earlier decision had come came directly from the Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Punjab Teachers’ Union (PTU) General Secretary Rana Liaquat Ali termed the decision ‘strange’. “It was taken at an odd hour that too on a holiday,” he speculated. “The teachers have been informed about the training sessions of the census just one day earlier.”
In a message to all district education authorities (DEAs) and their respective CEOs, the SED withdrew its instructions issued on February 3 regarding the cancellation of census duty of teachers. “Teachers deputed shall perform their census duty as per instructions issued earlier,” it said.
On February 2, the School Education Department had aired concerns about overlapping duties of examinations and census. The notification directed officials to take appropriate measures to perform both exercises without any default or disturbance.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 6th, 2017.