KARACHI: The Sindh government, on the recommendation of the World Bank, has decided to appoint teachers, headmasters and headmistresses through competitive exams in order to improve the standard of education in the province.
"For the first time, headmasters are being directly appointed through competitive exams in the province, in order to bring about qualitative change in the education sector," a senior education official said.
Sindh education secretary Fazlullah Pechuho said that they had already issued the notification for the changes in school executive and school management services.
"Most of the teachers, having been appointed on political grounds, do not bother attending school. This has deteriorated our education system," he remarked. "We will now appoint the teachers, headmasters and headmistresses through competitive exams to improve the standard of education in the province."
Explaining the process, he said that eight per cent of the headmasters and headmistresses in grade 17 will be inducted through the SPSC and 20 per cent through promotion from among government teachers with seven years of service in grade 16. He added that candidates with Master's degrees and Associate degrees in teaching, with sufficient teaching experience, will be eligible for these positions.
Sources disclosed that around 4,000 headmasters and headmistresses will be appointed in the next fiscal year. "Senior headmasters and headmistresses will also be appointed, with most of them being inducted from government primary and secondary schools," said an education department official, adding that headmasters and headmistresses with five years of experience will be qualified for this.
On the recommendation of the World Bank, the education department will replace the posts of primary school teachers and junior school teachers with junior and senior elementary school teachers. Meanwhile, higher secondary school teachers will be substituted by senior secondary school teachers.
According to officials in the provincial education department, there will no longer be any new appointments for primary school teachers in Sindh. Those who have already been appointed, however, will continue working.
"Junior elementary school teachers will teach till class five, while senior elementary school teachers will teach till class eight," explained an education department official. He revealed that a new post of early childhood teachers, with female teachers being appointed through the Sindh Public Service Commission (SPSC) and other testing services, was also being created for schooling from Montessori to Class 2.
Meanwhile, teachers associations said that they will resist the changes. "The notification issued by the education department goes against us because it will affect our seniority," claimed Ghulam Bashir Channa, the president of the Government Secondary Teachers Association's Karachi chapter. "We have also challenged it in court." He added that they initially went to the Sindh High Court but it referred the case to the service tribunal, which gave its verdict in favour of the education department. They have, therefore, now challenged it in the Supreme Court.
Education budget slashed
Despite its claims about increasing the education development budget, the provincial government has decided to allocate Rs10 billion to the sector in the upcoming fiscal year, as compared to Rs11 billion in 2014-2015.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Sindh education secretary Fazlullah Pechuho said that they had slashed the allocation due to financial constraints. "We have earmarked Rs8 billion for ongoing projects and Rs2 billion for new projects."
Published in The Express Tribune, June 13th, 2015.
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