Government schoolteachers across Rawalpindi have asked the district education department to follow merit while issuing transfer orders under its rationalisation policy.
Under the policy, teachers were being transferred to different schools to rationalise student-teacher ratio and schools with more strength getting more teachers.
But the teachers and some officials claimed that only teachers without political backing were being transferred to distant areas. They said that those with political support get their transfer orders cancelled soon after they are issued.
The teachers also said that female teachers were sent to schools in remote areas where there was no transport facility to ferry them.
“Is it not only unjust but also illogical to send a female teacher from Rawalpindi to a school in Gujar Khan,” said Raja Shahid Mubarak, a senior teacher and member the Punjab Teachers’ Union.
Besides, he said, senior teachers have been transferred to fill positions of junior teachers while junior teachers, with political clout, have been appointed on senior posts.
He said though the rationalisation policy was a step in the right direction, as according to him, intra-tehsil transfers were somehow better than inter-district transfers. He said, however, discrimination should be avoided while making transfers.
“Teachers are not against the policy but at least merit should be followed besides keeping convenience of a teacher into consideration,” he said. He said that over 500 teachers were transferred under the policy by the education department without following set rules. “If the decision was correct, why the department withdrew 192 transfer orders immediately after their issuance?” he questioned.
Rana Sajjad, another teacher, said the department violated its own rationalising policy. As per policy, the teacher-student ratio at the primary level should be 1:40 (one teacher for 40 students) while at the secondary level 3:100.
“But the department has sent teachers with no political backing to remote areas in violation of merit. Most of the teachers with strong political clout have got their posting orders cancelled,” claimed a senior officer in the education department, while requesting anonymity.
He said, however, that they were reviewing the policy to ensure merit and provide convenience particularly to female teachers. “How a teacher will take a class after travelling for more than half-and-hour in the scorching heat of summer,” he commented.
“I have been transferred from a school in Jhanda Chichi to Chakri, 45 kilometres away from my home,” said a female teacher, who has submitted an application with the department to get her transfer order cancelled.
Executive District Officer Qazi Zahoorul Haq could not be approached for comments.
Another senior officer, however, said most of the transfer orders were cancelled after a review committee considered them unjust.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 29th, 2014.
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