LAHORE: The Punjab School Education Department (SED) has barred the transfers and appointments of schoolteachers till the end the general elections and the formation of a new government.
According to directions issued to Punjab’s 36 district education authorities’ (DEAs) chief executive officers (CEOs), the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) announced a schedule for Election 2018 on May 21, 2018. “You are requested not to transfer or make appointments under any circumstances until the process of election isn’t completed,” it read.
Furthermore, the CEOs have been instructed to take back any recent orders of transfer or appointment. “Any order already issued must be withdrawn immediately.” The teachers awaiting transfer would have to wait until the formation of a new government after elections. According to instructions issued to the CEOs, “The exercise done already by all authorities in this regard will be operative after election under transfer policy 2013 and SED will notify a specific date for this.”
SED halts transfers of teachers as part of election preperation
The decision would impact as many as 50,000 teachers as they would have to wait till the conclusion of the elections. Around 7,000 teachers had applied for inter-district transfers and around 40 or 50,000 had applied for transfers within their districts.
Earlier, the department only temporarily halted the transfers as ECP was conducting training for teachers. The CEOs were told to not issue any transfer orders as the teachers deputed for election duty were on training. However, the process of scrutiny for transfers was continued by the department.
The CEOs were told to complete the process of scrutiny of transfer applications before issuance of transfer orders. However, no transfer was to be issued till further instructions of the department.
The ban on transfers was earlier lifted in 2016 and in March, the SED again lifted the ban before scheduling the application process from April 1 to May 31.
Earlier this month, SED Secretary Dr Allah Bakhsh Malik said the process would be started again after the training by ECP.
Punjab Teachers’ Union (PTU) General Secretary Rana Liaquat Ali said that after one-and-a-half years, the teachers had been given a chance to get transferred as a general ban had been lifted. “Because of this decision, thousands of teachers will have to wait. Female teachers will be the most affected as many were been married during the period of the transfer ban. Their married life is certainly going to be affected and they will just have to wait further.”
Towards the end of April, SED had postponed its School Leadership Development Programme under the Quaid-i-Azam Academy for Educational Development (QAED) because of the election training of teachers. The training was overlapping with the orientation sessions by the ECP for assistant presiding officers and polling officers from April 23 to May 12.
A notification in this regard read, “Keeping in view the training by the ECP, the schedule issued by the SED for the School Leadership Development Programme is hereby withdrawn. The new schedule will be communicated subsequently. Conducting elections is the prime national responsibility of the ECP, therefore its training programme and other election-related activities shall be accorded top priority.”
The SED also instructed the officials concerned to make sure that the instructions issued by the ECP would be complied with on a priority basis.
“All the CEOs of DEAs and all departments/ organisations/ autonomous bodies working under the administrative control of the SED shall ensure that directions received from the ECP shall be complied with immediately. In case of any leniency, slackness or complaint, the officer(s) concerned shall be personally responsible and liable to be proceeded against under the rules.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 2nd, 2018.
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