Assembly passes law to regularise NTS teachers

Teachers had staged protests against the govt for refusing to make their employment permanent

Hafeez Tunio February 27, 2018

KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly finally passed the law to regularise the services of 15,649 contractual teachers who had passed the National Testing Service (NTS) examinations in 2014.

These teachers were initially hired in primary, secondary and higher secondary schools on three-year contracts but the government was reluctant to issue them permanent orders. The government’s delaying tactics compelled the teachers to come out onto the streets, observe hunger strikes and march towards Chief Minister House in protest. In the ensuing chaos, they were subjected to police brutality.

Moving the bill on Monday, Parliamentary Minister Nisar Ahmed Khuhro briefed the House on the law’s objectives as well as his party’s policy. “The Pakistan Peoples Party [PPP] believes in generating livelihood resources. We cannot lay off anyone, as it is not our policy,” he said, adding that the teachers were appointed on the basis of three-year contracts and now the government has decided to regularise them.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement parliamentary leader Syed Sardar Ahmed inquired whether the teachers’ appointments were made on the basis of the urban and rural quotas. “As per the quota system, 40% share must be given to candidates living in urban Sindh,” he said.  Education Minister Jam Mahtab Hussain Dahar replied that the appointments were made on the basis of union councils and that the lion’s share has been given to Karachi and other towns and cities in Sindh. “There was no quota system in the appointments. All the teachers were inducted purely on merit from their respective union councils/committees,” he added.

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When Ahmed inquired whether the contractual teachers who had qualified the Sindh University and Institute of Business Administration tests were also given permanent job orders, Dahar replied in the affirmative.

Officials in the education department said a total of 450,000 candidates had initially applied, of which 121,000 passed the written test. The government finally inducted 15,649 of those teachers. “Among them, 9,500 are primary teachers, 5,300 secondary school teachers and 849 are higher secondary teachers,” a senior official working in education department told the MPAs.

College encroachment

Earlier, Pakistan Muslim League - Functional MPA Nusrat Seher Abbasi moved a call attention notice and asked Dahar why the government has failed to remove the encroachments at Government Commerce College in Khairpur Mir. “The college is occupied by influential persons in former chief minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah’s hometown. These encroachers have erected a wall around its plot. What steps have been taken against the land mafia?” she questioned. Dahar admitted that the encroachments existed and said they were trying to have them removed.

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Larkana package

The assembly turned down Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf parliamentary leader Khurrum Sher Zaman’s adjournment motion regarding corruption of government funds in the Larkana Development Package. Khuhro said that since the case is currently being heard in court, it cannot be discussed in the assembly.

Journalists’ protest

During the assembly session, journalists covering the session protested against the arrest of three reporters working in different districts of Sindh.

Holding the placards in their hands, they walked out of the session and demanded that the government release their peers. According to the Sindh Journalists Council, an organisation of local journalists, Kamran Sahito, a journalist from Hyderabad has gone missing and the police have now lodged fake cases against him. Similarly, Deedar a local journalist from Malir in Karachi and Rafaqat Jarwar of Tando Bagho went missing a few days ago. After the protest, ministers including Mukesh Kumar Chawla and Mumtaz Jakhrani and MPA Saleem Raza Jalbani assured the journalists that these reporters will be released soon.

After the legislation, Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani adjourned the session till today (Tuesday).