Protesting teachers

All now looks set for the exams to start from April 1

Editorial March 30, 2019

Mercifully for some 1.5 million students of Sindh province, including 350,000 belonging to Karachi, the threat of yet another delay in matriculation examinations across the province has been averted. A serious protest by teachers threatened postponement of the exams, for a third time, but the provincial government intervened successfully to ensure that the exams are held from April 1.

Originally scheduled to start from March 20, the exams were first delayed, by five days, because of the Hindu holy festival of Holi, in what was pertinently reasoned on a gesture of religious harmony and goodwill.

Rescheduled to commence from March 25, the exams were again postponed till April 1 due to a protest by the employees of various education boards of the province against a proposal to set up Sindh Education Boards Regulatory Authority. The employees believe that such an authority would compromise the autonomy of the seven education boards of the province. The two-week-long protest affected preparations for holding the exams. Hence, a delay of about one week.

And when all had been settled, a threat of exams boycott by government teachers in the province loomed large. More than two thousand teachers hit the streets of Karachi while calling for, among other things, promotions based on a time-scale formula and a change in the management cadre. During this protest, the teachers were treated with batons, teargas and water shots by security forces as they attempted to force their way into the ‘red zone’ that houses important buildings like the CM House and the Governor House.

With the disgruntled teachers having been brought round to give up their protest, all now looks set for the exams to start from April 1. However, the situation exposes the vulnerability of our examination system to delays and postponements for one reason or the other. Sadly though, it’s nobody else than those associated with the noble profession of teaching who exploit this ‘opportune’ time for getting their demands fulfilled.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 30th, 2019.

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