Controversial test for teachers postponed
Lahore, Feb 07: The Punjab Schools Education Department on Friday 'postponed' the aptitude and basic skills test scheduled to be given to subject specialists for their selection and posting against administrative posts like DEOs and EDOs.
The test was scheduled to be held on Saturday (Feb 7). The education department has, however, cited no reason for the abrupt postponement of the aptitude test.
Director Public Instruction (secondary education), Punjab, Mian Abdul Haq confirmed that the test had been postponed, but failed to give any reason. An official, however, claimed that the education department had succumbed to the pressure mounted by the teacher organisations which launched protests, held press conferences, issued news releases and threatened boycott of the test.
Since the announcement regarding holding of the test, the Punjab Government Schools Senior Staff Association (PGSSSA) had been protesting against the idea of holding the GMAT. Later, many teacher organisations announced their support to the association.
The association leaders also took the education department's decision to select officials after giving them a test as insult of teachers. It may be mentioned that the Punjab government had earlier tried to create a separate administrative cadre in school side, but failed.
Following teachers' protests, the schools education department took a stand that it was not a GMAT test but an aptitude and basic skills test being conducted for the training of educational managers by the Government College University (GCU).
The education department stated that the Punjab Education-Sector Reform Programme (PESRP) Phase-I implementation had identified that educational managers needed capacity building as it came out as a key weak area. Consequently, the education department prepared an elaborate project for the capacity building of education department senior teachers and educational managers, particularly at the district level.
The capacity-building project aimed at training prospective educational managers to enable them to impart their duties in managerial, organisational, technical and logistic areas of the district education department.
An education department official said the training needed to be imparted to all managerial tiers of district education departments.
He said the GCU services were hired for imparting training to the educational managers as well as for the comparative analysis of ambitious candidates. "Consequently, an aptitude and basic skills test was designed in accordance with the standardised needs and requirements of the education department," he added.
The official also claimed that the proposed test had no link with the promotion or demotion of education managers nor had it any pass or fail rating.
The teachers, meanwhile, continued protest against the proposed test.Your Comments
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VCs to rack up ideas to cure economic ills: HEC meeting on 9th
Lahore: Vice-chancellors of the 60 public-sector universities in the country are meeting on Feb 9 (Monday) under the umbrella of the Higher Education Commission to finalise a strategy to cope with the 'financial crunch' the institutes have been facing for the last several months.
The meeting, scheduled to be held in Islamabad, will be presided over by Vice-Chancellors' Committee chairman Dr Mazharul Haq Siddiqui.
According to a senior official of the HEC, the meeting has only one-point agenda, that is, how to come out of the financial crisis after a substantial cut in the HEC grants by the government. The meeting, he said, would discuss as to how the varsities should explore the possibilities to generate funds from their own resources, especially through self-finance programmes or even fee enhancement, curtailing expenditure, approaching donor community and not initiating any new project.
In the wake of the financial crunch, a number of development projects of the varsities have already come to halt.
Expressing its inability to provide any further funding, the HEC has told the varsities in black and white that the finance ministry had not given any commitment to even release recurring and development funds budgeted for the current financial year.
"For the next financial year we have been asked to tentatively consider a 10 per cent increase in recurring grants and zero per cent in development grants. Therefore, the commission will hardly be in a position to fund the legitimate demands of the varsities," it said.
The HEC maintained that the proposed budget for higher education would reduce the inflation adjusted 'real' funds available to the institutions. "Considering that the universities have been forced to borrow at exorbitant interest rates to meet liabilities in the current financial year, it is clear that tough times lie ahead."
The HEC said: "For the past four years it had been working towards getting a US $300 million (0.5 per cent) 30-year financing from the World Bank for budgetary support. In spite of meeting all technical requirements for the loan demanded due to a lack of release of funds from the government for higher education, this financing has been jeopardised.
"The World Bank has expressed severe reservations in funding a sub-sector of the economy that does not have the required budgetary support of the government."
The commission further informed the varsities that the most crucial task was to protect the investment they had already made in different projects. "Our most precious investment is the faculty development and we have to develop faculty positions on Tenure Track System to the returning scholars. This will be our biggest challenge since it takes five years to develop one PhD level faculty member and if we are unable to absorb them in our varsities then the entire investment would essentially yield no returns to the higher education sector." Dawn
I miss you, Dr Ata!
Rawalpindi: My experience with the HEC shows that when Dr Ataur Rehman was in chair, all elements of the commission were functioning efficiently. Whenever I wrote an email to any person in the HEC or called him, I always got a response. This attitude actually travels from top to bottom. Dr Rehman himself was kind enough to respond to every email that I sent him (an attitude unheard of in our federal cabinet). After Dr Rehman, there is a sea change in the attitude of HEC staff. They are now at par with other government offices. I have been trying to call the HEC for the past two weeks and have been unable to even speak to an official. Either no one picks up the phone or when they do they immediately put it down. I have also sent several emails but so far there has been no response. Keep it up, HEC -- you are now working like a true Pakistani institution. -Nadir Munir (The News)
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Punjab told not to hire staff for Attock schools
Rawalpindi: The Lahore High Court's Rawalpindi bench on Friday stopped the Punjab government from inducting new teaching and non-teaching staff in Attock after the district nazim moved the court against the decision.
Justice Abdul Shakoor Paracha issued provisional status quo order directing the district coordination officer (DCO) not to proceed with appointing new staff on posts already occupied by contractual employees till disposal of the petition.
Before adjourning the hearing, the court also directed the DCO to submit comments in response to the petition of the district nazim, Tahir Sadiq, within three weeks.
Making the provincial government through the chief secretary, DCO and the executive district officer (education) respondents, the petitioner maintained that in 2006 and 2007 the district government had appointed over 4,000 teaching and on-teaching staff strictly on merit on a five years' contract. However, on January 25, the provincial government through an advertisement sought applications for filling the posts after showing them vacant.
The petitioner's counsel, Advocate Tanveer Iqbal Khan, informed the court that the advertisement had asked the contractual teachers to apply afresh for the posts before they completed their five-year contract period, creating panic among them. He said the government had also reduced the maximum age limit from 45 years to 35, making many working teachers ineligible for the job.
The nazim, as head of the district government under the Punjab Local Government Ordinance, issued executive orders to the DCO and the
EDO to stop making fresh applications on the posts but his directives were not heeded to, he added.
He alleged that the Punjab government's move to target the teachers was aimed to politically victimise the district nazim. DawnYour Comments
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