KARACHI: (Aftab Channa) While taking a U-turn on resolving the withheld salary issue of teachers, including the Sindhi Language Teachers appointed by his party’s own minister in year 2012, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has directed education department (school side) to investigate illegal appointments of teachers on district level and submit report to him.
“I would not allow any illegal entry in the teaching cadre – I need best teachers appointed through NTS.”
He issued these directives while presiding over a meeting on Education department to review progress of its different projects here at the CM House. The meeting was attended by Minister P&D Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani, Minister for Education Jam Mehtab Dahar, Chairman P&D Mohammad Waseem, Principal Secretary to CM Sohail Rajput, Secretary Finance Hassan Naqvi, Secretary School Education Aziz Uqaili, Secretary College Education Parvaiz Seehar and other concerned officers.
It is mentioned here that the CM had promised to resolve and release withheld salaries to all the teachers appointed by former education minister Pir Mazharul Haq; after scrutiny of the teachers. A high powered committee headed by Sindh Home Secretary, who was directed to submit a report within 90 days; however the committee seems nowhere. Interestingly almost all the education officials who were suspended for their involvement in the appointment of teachers scam, have been reinstated and given promotions.
The chief minister said that there is ban on recruitment of teachers from 2008. However, recruitment of required teaching staff have been made through third party/well reputed organizations. “How a number of teachers have been appointed in different districts,” he questioned.
Minister Education Jam Mehtab Dahar told the chief minister that the salaries of 3700 teachers have been stopped for want of verification of their credentials. “Despite repeated notices issued through national press, hardly 16 teachers have submitted their documents,” he said.
The chief minister directed Secretary education to inquire into the matter and register FIR against those who are involved in the fraud and forgery for issuing illegal recruitment orders. “I would not compromise on merit and quality in education sector,” he said and added the future of the country, particularly of Sindh lies in education and it becomes our collective responsibility to work vigilantly and honestly.
Secretary School Education Aziz Uqaili briefing the chief minister said that six different foreign funded projects are in progress in education sector. They are World Bank funded Sindh Education Reform Programme (SERPI/II), $66 million Sindh Global Partnership for Education (SGPE)- it is being funded by WB, European Union (EU) and other donors. EU Sindh Education Sector Programme (SESSP), Sindh Basic Education Programme (SBEP) of USAID, Capacity Building of Teachers Training Institutes & Training of Elementary School teachers of CIA and Girls Elementary School of JICA.
Talking about SERP-I &II, the secretary said that they are of $355.044 million and $321.432 million projects respectively. These both projects have two components: Eligible Expenditure Programme (EEP) and Technical assistance (TA).
Giving highlights of SESSP focuses on education governance, access and quality. The EU extended Euro 25.5 million budgetary support (2015-16), Euro 50 million are committed under the upcoming programme.
The SBEP project is $155 million USAID funded project. Under the project 106 schools are being constructed and other components of the project are Sindh Reading Programme, Community Mobilisation Programme, Sindh Capacity Development Programme and Architectural and Engineering Support. The Sindh government also finance this project at the tune of Rs1.02 billion.
The meeting was told that under SBEP programme, 106 schools are being constructed in seven district. So far 16 schools have been completed while work on 63 others is in progress. Secretary Education Aziz Uqaili said that out of 16 completed school, nine have been handed over to functionalize them on PPP mode. The handed over nine schools are located in different villages of Khairpur and Sukkur districts. 10 More Schools would be handed over by the end of this month.
Briefing on Rs1.3 billion CIDA project, Mr Uqaili said that under the programme 1016 headmasters have been trained. A three-week training programme of 1000 headmasters started in this month would be completed in October. 700 newly promoted headmasters’ three week training programme is being started and four week training of other 700 headmasters promoted from subject specialist would be launched started. Over some 3416 headmasters would be trained under the programme, he said.
JICA programme for upgrading girls schools to elementary school in rural areas. This two-phase programme was originally approved by ECNEC in 2013 for Rs2 billion in which JICA was contributing Rs1.66 billion while Sindh government’s share came to Rs409 million. The programme has two phases, Southern Side and Northern side and it would be completed by June 2019.
The other objectives of the programme are improvement of access and address gender gaps, address rural-urban disparities and develop girls elementary schools in priority districts.
He said that out of 54 schools, 29 have been completed and handed over while 25 are under constructions. Those which have been completed are 10 in Mirpurkhas, two in Hyderabad, six in Jamshoro, three in Benazirabad, six in Badin and two in Tando Allahyar districts.
The chief minister directed Minister Education to focus on merit and proper and sagacious usage of funds. This is most important, he said.