HYDERABAD: Government schools' teachers took to protest in Hyderabad on Sunday decrying the planned closure of higher secondary schools and sacking of the over 900 contractual head teachers on the expiry of their contract. The protesting head teachers deplored the Sindh government's July 4 notification under which their contract has been extended by one year with the announcement of no further extension upon completion of that period.
"...is hereby extended by one year to be computed in each individual's case from the date of expiry of his or her present contract. No further extension shall be given," reads the notification issued by Education Secretary Qazi Shahid Pervez on July 4.
Head teachers, Shahzad Shahmeer Chandio, Aamir Ali Bughio, Ali Raza Larik and others who spoke during the protest said that they were appointed two years ago after qualifying IBA Sukkur University's recruitment test.
The contractual vacancies, equal of BPS-17, were advertised in 2015. They said they had been expecting that they would be regularised upon the completion of two or three years of service. "On the contrary, the education secretary has announced that the vacancies created after the completion of the one-year extension will be filled through the Sindh Public Service Commission-conducted recruitment exam," bemoaned Chandio.
There are a total of 957 headmasters and headmistresses who were appointed through the IBA test. However, these appointments drew backlash from Government School Teachers Association which contended that the opportunity of being promoted to head teacher was being denied to senior government teachers through these appointments.
The protesting head teachers, who were joined by civil society representatives said their performance during the next year will remain below par as the sword of being sacked will keep dangling over their heads.
They appealed to Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and Sindh Education Minister Syed Sardar Ali Shah to review the decision and regularise their services.
Closure of schools
In a separate protest outside Hyderabad Press Club, senior government teachers opposed the closure of higher secondary schools by their conversion to colleges. They demanded that separate buildings should be constructed for the colleges and secondary schools be allowed to continue.
Prof Syed Mehar Hassan Shah and Prof Muhammad Ismail Memon, who led the protests, claimed that the provincial government has planned to close 37 higher secondary schools including 22 in Hyderabad division, 10 in Mirpurkhas division, three in Karachi division and one each in Sukkur and Benazirabad divisions. They claimed that five posts of BPS-20 principal, two of BPS-19 principal, 20 of BPS-19 Associate Prof, 75 of BPS-18 Assistant Professor and 148 of BPS-17 Subject Specialist will be abolished along with those schools.
"Sindh government is trying to hide its administrative failures by questioning performance of these schools and by planning their closure," said Shah. They teachers claimed that the higher secondary schools are successfully operating in other provinces and the center and appealed the provincial government to withdraw from its decision.