Hyderabad BISE postpones exams amid protests by teachers, staff

More than 135,000 students were supposed to appear in the SSC exams

Our Correspondent March 22, 2019

HYDERABAD: Following announcements of a boycott of the board exams by the teachers and employees of the Boards of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE), Hyderabad BISE has postponed the exams scheduled for March 25. More than 135,000 students of secondary school certificate (SSC) parts I and II from nine districts of the division were supposed to appear in the exams.

"All the students and educational institutions are being informed that exams of classes nine and ten, which were scheduled for March 25 are being postponed," informed the controller exams of Hyderabad BISE, Masroor Ahmed Zai, on Thursday. "We will try to announce a new date soon."

The BISEs of Mirpurkhas, Sukkur and Larkana have not yet officially announced the postponement which remains in consideration. The chairpersons of all the educational boards are scheduled to meet on Friday to prepare a mutual strategy in view of the prevailing situation.

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The Government Schools Teachers Association (GSTA) and Sindh Education Boards Committee, both of which have been protesting for around a month for acceptance of their demands, had earlier announced the boycott. The former wants the Sindh government to abolish the school management cadre system which they argue is providing administrative position to the non-teacher government employees. The latter has been asking the provincial government to drop the plan of setting up Sindh Educational Boards Regulatory Authority, which they believe will further politicise the seven boards in Sindh by centralising their authority.

"The protests have been going on in all the educational boards for a month against the authority," Zai said. "The staffs have padlocked the offices because their demands haven't been heard at any level and no responsible figure from the government has approached them". He reiterated that the fundamental reason behind the postponement was the employees' protest movement against the regulatory authority.

Earlier in the day, Hyderabad BISE Chairperson Dr Muhammad Memon expressed likelihood of the deferment of examinations. He said that due to the on-going protest of the employees, Hyderabad BISE could not complete preparations for the exams. "Due to extensive strike of the board employees, the preparation process has been severely disturbed," he said.

According to him, the BISE had printed the examination slips and other required material but it could not dispatch them to exam centres. "If the employees would have called off strike today, then we (BISE) would have managed though barely, but their strike is still going on which is a major setback."

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Sindh Education Boards Committee Chairperson Aijaz Kaka, who is leading the protest camp in Hyderabad, said that the staff can manage to complete the preparations in two or three days if they called off the protest. "But we will only do so after Sindh government at least gives us a credible assurance about our demand," he said.

He informed that the employees of all the education boards in Sindh will converge in Karachi on March 22 to stage a sit-in demonstration outside Chief Minister's House. The committee contended that the regulatory authority is being established to pander to the wishes of Dr Asim Hussain, former federal minister and a close aide of Pakistan Peoples Party Co-Chairperson Asif Ali Zardari. They claim that the centralised authority will further open the door for political involvement in management of the boards.

The GSTA on the other hand is up in arms against the school management cadre system which they believe will strengthen clout of bureaucracy on education. GSTA President Muhammad Ashraf Khaskheli, who led the protest rally in Hyderabad, told that the teachers from across the province will stage a sit-in demonstration in Karachi on March 28.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 22nd, 2019.


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