The Boards of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE) in Punjab are facing difficulties because a large number of teachers across the province are not willing to perform duty at examination centres during the matriculation exams due to the ongoing heatwave.
Low remuneration for the examination duties and alleged mismanagement on the part of board officials are also blamed for the teachers' unwillingness to supervise the exams.
The Punjab Higher Education Department has written a letter to the school education department for asking teachers to perform duty at the examination centres.
Sources in the boards said a large number of teachers had not joined the exam duties. They termed the extremely hot weather the major reason for reluctance of the teachers to perform exam duties.
The 10th grade annual exams are currently being conducted by all nine BISEs of the province.
The exams of 9th class will begin on May 26, while the intermediate examinations are scheduled from June 24.
Yet a large number of teachers selected to perform the exam duties are not joining their duties, causing difficulties for the boards in following the schedule.
"It seems that we will not be able to conduct 9th and intermediate class exams if the situation remains the same, particularly the extremely hot weather. Teachers are not willing to do the duties and we are conducting the exams by assigning duties to board employees and requesting teachers to help us," a senior official of the Lahore BISE said while speaking to The Express Tribune.
"We have sent requests to the District Education Authorities and officers to communicate to us the names of teachers from the districts for performing exam duties. However, the teachers are not willing to take up the duties and this situation is making it hard for us to conduct the exams," the official said.
He admitted that the staff shortage had also resulted in mismanagements in examination halls and increased complaints of cheating.
"A large number of teachers assigned duties did not report at exam centres and we brought the situation into the knowledge of the Punjab School Education Department, asking them to ensure that the teachers would perform duties at the centres. The department has also written a letter to the District Education Authorities, stressing the need for asking teachers to report at the examination centres," he said.
The official warned that if the authorities concerned failed to persuade the teachers to perform the duties in the coming weeks then it would be difficult for the boards to conduct the 9th and intermediate classes exams.
A schoolteacher in Lahore, Zeeshan Ali, said majority of teachers in the province were not joining exam duties due to the hot season and low payment.
Punjab government pays Rs500 for single and Rs700 for double session duties to the teachers.
"How will they do the duty for such a low pay. Teachers are coming from far flung villages for the examination duties amid the prevailing high temperatures and Rs500 may be spent just over their travel expenses. This is the reason that majority of the teachers are avoiding exam duties," he said.
Punjab Teachers Union secretary Rana Liaqat Ali said the teachers serving in the province were suffering due to inflation and the fee for exam duties needed to be doubled. He said other basic demands of the teachers should also be fulfilled.
"Teachers sincerely perform a number of duties during the whole year, so the government should consider increasing their pay in the coming budget. In this hot season we are also conducting internal exams at schools," he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 19th, 2022.
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