Protesting government school principals were met with baton charge by the police on Monday as they reached the Sindh Chief Minister’s House to stage a sit-in after 22 days of demonstrations, calling for their regularisation.
Over two dozen protestors were detained and later released while several male and female teachers were injured, when a heavy contingent of police arrived to disperse them.
“Around 15 male and 10 female teachers, sporting wounds on their heads and bleeding noses, were taken away in a police mobile,” said Siddiqui Dal, one of the protestors, speaking to The Express Tribune.
Around 958 headmasters, who were appointed after sitting an exam conducted by the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) Sukkur, have been demanding of the provincial government to regularise them for the past four years. The recent protests have spanned over three weeks.
Shortly after they cleared the IBA Sukkur exam in 2017, the Sindh government had announced to induct them as permanent employees based on their performance but all in vain.
“All head teachers have qualified the IBA test purely on merit. Initially, they extended two years tenure. Later, they do it on yearly basis,” said one of the teachers, adding that all government officers including Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani had lauded their performance, but the provincial government remained reluctant to regularise them.
“Instead of giving us permanent orders, the government has now advertised appointments for fresh headmasters. We have already served four years in the department and still continue the job. Why does the government not consider our case and regularise us on priority basis,” said Saleem Ahmed, another protesting teacher.
The recent protests by the public school headmasters started on March 1, with the demonstrators setting up camp outside the Karachi Press Club. On March 15 they moved outside the Sindh Assembly and staged a sit-in for a week before heading to the Chief Minister’s House on Monday.
Commenting on the matter, Ghani said that the headmasters, who passed the IBA tests could not be made permanent by the Sindh government or the cabinet due to court orders.
He added that the protesting teachers were cognisant about the decisions of the Sindh High Court’s Karachi and Hyderabad benches, which ruled that no employees are too be appointed on Grade 16 or Grade 17 posts without the clearing the Sindh Public Service Commission’s exams.
“We have written to the chief justice of the Sindh High Court to take a final decision, regarding the rulings of these two benches or to form a single-bench [to hear the matter],” said Ghani, adding that the provincial government was ready to implement whatever decision the SHC CJ gives.
The teachers, however, referred to direct appointments made by the provincial government on Grade 16 and Grade 17 posts in various departments and alleged that it was a weak excuse on the provincial government’s part.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 23rd, 2021.
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