Teachers, ministry lock horns

FDE Joint Action Committee says schools will remain shut after talks fail


Zaigham Naqvi December 04, 2021

ISLAMABAD:

The Joint Action Committee of the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) on Friday announced to keep schools shut and continue boycott of classes after the breakdown of negotiations with the federal education ministry, demanding the reversal of a decision to put educational institutions under the Islamabad mayor.

The FDE Joint Action Committee delegation met with Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood, who had called them for negotiations after the teaching and non-teaching staff staged a massive protest demonstration outside the Parliament House the other day.

The FDE teachers have shut schools and boycotted classes after the federal government issued an ordinance, placing all federal educational institutions including schools and colleges under the administrative control of the Islamabad mayor.

During the first round of the negotiation, the education minister and the secretary of education had agreed to reverse section 166 of the ordinance and issue a notification to return the administrative control of 33 model colleges, which had been put under the administrative control of the Federal College of Education (FCE).

The FDE Joint Action Committee members said that the education minister had issued directives to the officials concerned to remove their reservations. However, the committee members said, the additional secretary of the education ministry refused to issue a written assurance about the revocation of the ordinance related to the FDE educational institutions stating that only the federal cabinet was rested with the power to do away with section 166 of the ordinance.

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According to sources, FDE Joint Action Committee wanted a written assurance for the revocation of the ordinance before they end their boycott of classes and reopening of schools.

FDE Joint Action Committee Chairman Fazal Maula told The Express Tribune they have not yet reached a conclusive negotiation with the education ministry. He said that their protest will continue until their demands were met as it was the question of the future status of 20,000 employees as civil servants.

He said that the federal education minister had agreed to their legitimate demands but the ministry officials did not give anything in writing in this regard. “We will remain firm on our stance until practical steps are taken,” he said.

Meanwhile, high officials of the education ministry said the FDE employees have been assured that amendments could be made about their service structure and their all demands could be met phase-wise if they announce to end their protest and start classes.

The officials said at notification regarding placing 33 model colleges under the FDE administrative control could be issued immediately, however, it was beyond the education ministry’s scope to repeal the whole ordinance.

A day after the FDE was put under the administrative control of the Islamabad mayor, the education ministry placed 33 model colleges under the administrative control of the Federal College Education.

The move followed the issuance of a new ordinance regarding the Amendment in Islamabad Capital Territory Local Government Act 2015.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 4th, 2021.

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