FAISALABAD: Hundreds of men and women came together on Wednesday to stage a protest demonstration against the Education Department and district authorities for not recruiting physical education graduates.
The demonstrators gathered at GTS Chowk, the busiest intersection in the city, and blocked it for traffic. Long queues of vehicle were seen bumper-to-bumper at both sides of State Bank Road, Railway Road, Satiana Road and Samundri Road.
The banner-wielding protesters raised slogans against the Education Department and district authorities. Amna Nazir, one of the demonstrators, said the department had initially advertised 321 vacancies for physical education graduates.
She said 635 people had been deemed eligible for recruitment and were advised to appear for an examination conducted by the National Testing Service.
Nazir said the candidates had been informed after sitting the test that the number of vacancies had been reduced to 60. She said the development had left candidates crestfallen.
Amjad Raheel, another protester, said educational institutions were required to have one physical education teacher each at the middle, high and higher secondary school level. He said there were scores of vacancies at educational institutions across the city but the Education Department and district authorities were not interested in pursuing the matter.
Naila Ghuftar, another demonstrator, asserted that no reduction had actually been made in the number of vacancies.
She said some corrupt officials from the Education Department and district authorities had taken the initiative to mint money. “Only those who grease their palms will be recruited,” Guftar said.
Ghazala Amjad, another protester, echoed her views. “It is unfortunate that no work gets done in the nation without indulging delinquent officials,” Amjad said. She said scores of physical education graduates would be rejected due to the reduction in the number of vacancies. Amjad said they would not be able to compete for spots by the time another recruitment drive was initiated due to an age limit. “Then they would be asked for bribes yet again to get employed,” she said.
The demonstrators raised slogans against senior officials of the Education Department and threatened to approach Lahore High Court for justice if the number of vacancies was not revised to 500.
A police team reached the spot following a tip-off and prevailed on the demonstrators to put an end to the protest. Police officials assured them that senior officials would be made cognisant of their grievances and the issue would be amicably resolved.
Education EDO Spokesperson Akram Habib told The Express Tribune that the department had been compelled to reduce the number of vacancies due to financial constraints.
He said officials had raised the issue several times at different meetings. Habib said the department had no other option but to reduce vacancies.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 16th, 2015.
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