Though matters at the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training are being run on an ad-hoc basis, with several officers holding dual or more positions, it is still reluctant to make appointments against several vacant posts.
Since the devolution of the Education Ministry in 2010 under the 18th Amendment, the ministry has been renamed four times, while struggling to find its place at the federal level.
The ministry has asked the federal government to give it charge of about 22 organisations which were under the pre-2010 federal education ministry and were given to different divisions and ministries after devolution.
At the moment, several offices at the ministry are functioning with their senior-most positions lying vacant, or with the occupant of the seat holding more than one charge.
Joint Secretary Tariq Nawaz is heading the National Education Foundation as its managing director and is also the education
director general (DG) at the ministry.
Technical and Vocational Development Joint Secretary Taimur Khan holds the additional charge of director planning of ministry’s monitoring cell. Khan also holds the charge of Pakistan National Commission for the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco).
Similarly, Additional Secretary Allah Baksh Malik is holding the charge of Academy of Educational Planning and Management DG.
Kanwal Javed, deputy secretary at the ministry is also holding the charge of National Internship Programme DG.
Moreover, the Basic Education Community Schools DG is also about to retire in few months.
An official at the ministry said at least eight offices were functioning either without heads or under officers holding additional charge.
He said the ministry was literally running its affairs on an ad hoc basis and with hardly any long-term planning because of the lack of heads.
Earlier this year Muhammad Ahsan Raja took over as the secretary of the ministry. Sources said Raja had a reputation of being a by-the-book manager, which saw a number of officials at the ministry requesting transfers.
This has added to the situation under which the ministry of functioning.
Since devolution, the existence of the Education Ministry has been opposed by several politicians including senators Raza Rabbani and Afrasiab Khattak — both of whom helped prepare the 18th Amendment. The Government of Sindh and the two senators even opposed the mere use of the word “education” in the name of the ministry.
Federal Education and Professional Training State Minister Balighur Rehman previously said the ministry’s job was to assist in integration and cohesion among provinces and the federal government.
The federal minister and the ministry secretary were not available for comment.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 24th, 2014.