ISLAMABAD / RAWALPINDI: With education cited as one of the primary focus areas of the ruling PTI, the government is reorganising the federal education ministry and its attached departments to promote and strengthen the education system in the country.
This was stated by the Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mehmood on while visiting the offices of the National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA).
The NIEPA was also tasked to devise a comprehensive plan in this respect.
Mehmood said that education data collection system should be further strengthened, adding that the data collected should be comprehensive and unbiased.
The minister explained that going forward, the data collection effort would be made independent to help improve education in the country.
The data collection institution would be made ten times bigger, he added.
Separately, the federal education minister told the Senate that the government plans to enrol around 30,000 out-of-school children in the federal capital.
Replying to a calling attention notice by Senator Mir Kabeer Shahi in the upper house of parliament, Mehmood stated in his written reply that the government was prioritising education and that they were working hard to bring about visible changes in the sector.
He said that the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) — which oversees educational institutions in the city — had been directed to improve the standard of educational institutions in the federal capital.
Addressing the issue of shortages, Mehmood detailed that as many as 385 posts of teachers were currently lying vacant. Of these, 250 posts were to be filled through the Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) while rest will be filled through promotions.
Moreover, he said that some 1,770 daily wages teachers had been working in the federal capital’s educational institutions for the past decade.
“We are looking into the legal matters of these daily-wage teachers,” Mehmood said.
Regarding the issue of fees charged by private schools, he said that the matter was pending before the Supreme Court though it remains the domain of the Private Education Institutions Regulatory Authority (PEIRA).
The Punjab Education Department secretary has issued an 11-point standard operating procedure (SOP) for monitoring boys and girls schools in the province.
The SOP also covers the method for raiding schools in the province.
According to the document, male inspectors have been barred from entering girls schools without first giving advance notice. Moreover, male inspectors have been barred from directly going into classes of girls schools or directly asking questions of students there.
Those inspectors who violate the SOP have been warned of strict action against them.
Moreover, monitoring teams have been restricted from interfering in the administrative affairs of the schools. The monitoring teams can only go to the schools in operational hours. The teams have also been restricted from adding to the records of schools.
Any report the monitoring teams make will have to be shared with the school’s head. The monitoring teams have also been barred from using their official motorbikes for personal use.
Subject specialists transferred
The Punjab School Education Directorate has transferred as many as 520 senior subject specialists who were in basic pay scale (BPS) grade 17. These senior teachers can now also be appointed as heads of education institutions.
Of those transferred, 421 are women teachers while 99 are male teachers. The district education authorities have been directed to immediately fill the slots emptied by the transfers so that the studies of children are not harmed.WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM APP
Published in The Express Tribune, November 17th, 2018.