The Basic Education Community Schools (BECS), a project that has been in the news for all the wrong reasons, is in familiar territory once again.
This time the education project is being accused of making illegal appointments.
An official told The Express Tribune that the son of a senior ministry official was appointed as an assistant director (BPS-17) and a retired colonel as director (BPS-19) in the National Education Foundation (NEF), before the vacancies could be advertised publicly, in clear violations of the rules. There were no advertisements in the press nor were any interviews or tests conducted for the posts, he said.
The senior ministry official’s son was directly appointed the son of the personal secretary (PS) of the Minister for Training and Education as an Assistant Director (BPS-17) in the BECS.
The BECS project is meant to provide free basic education to needy students and was launched to curtail the dropout rate in areas where parents could not afford their children’s education. “The sad part is that BECS has been badly affected by corruption, mismanagement, violation of rules and politics,” the official said.
According to official sources, all the appointments in the project have been made without following the proper rules: senior bureaucrats and politicians “always” manage to hire their personal choices for key slots, said another official, on condition of anonymity.
A recently launched report revealed that the out of 15,000 BECS schools, around half are schools that never existed. But funds for these schools are being used up. Some senior officials, in connivance with politicians, are eating up the funds that are being released for schools that do not even exist, he added.
The BECS project is a temporary one, and under the rules its employees are supposed to be appointed on contract and cannot be promoted, the official said.
However, some employees of the BECS led by former Project Director Brigadier Sirajuddin, promoted themselves to the next grade by breaching the project rules.
An assistant director promoted herself with her own signature from BPS-17 to BPS-19 without any approval from the Board of Governors (BoG) of the National Education Foundation (NEF) or any other competent authority.
Auditor General of Pakistan in his observation termed the promotions illegal and against the rules, as no employee of any temporary project could be promoted to the next grade, unless the contract of the employee is revised.
But the promotions were not made null and void, despite directions of DG Federal Audit Syed Gulzar Hussain.
NEF MD Nasir Hayat said that these self-promoted employees have gone to court and their cases are now pending there. BECS Director Admin Saadia Ghuman admitted that the two officials were appointed without advertisement of the positions, but insisted that they were appointed on a need-base to fill the gap.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 30th, 2012.