Tuesday April 23, 2024

Controversy arises over eligibility criteria for top FDE vacancy

By Jamila Achakzai
March 31, 2024
Federal Directorate of Education building. — APP/File
Federal Directorate of Education building. — APP/File 

Islamabad : The principals of Islamabad's many government schools and colleges have raised questions about the eligibility criteria advertised by the federal education ministry for the vacancy of director general (BPS-21) at the Federal Directorate of Education, insisting that they're left out of the race for the top administrative post at the education watchdog despite being fully qualified.

The position, which was recently advertised in the country's leading newspapers, stipulated strict prerequisites, drawing criticism over its "narrow scope."

Only candidates with a Master's from a Higher Education Commission-recognised university in fields like finance, management, public policy, and law, and the minimum experience of 20 years in the relevant domains will be eligible for the position, according to the advertisement.

Also, at least five years of senior management experience or three years of heading a public or private sector organisation are required.

This eligibility criteria has troubled professors with extensive experience in teaching and managing educational institutions, especially school and college principals.

They say they feel really bad about their exclusion from the job race despite their decades-long, acknowledged contributions to the cause of formal education in the federal capital. "Many like me have profound knowledge and experience of educational management and institutional administration, but even then, the ministry has unfairly denied us the right to run for the top FDE vacancy by setting certain eligibility criteria," a senior college professor told 'The News'.

He said the FDE required the top boss to be an experienced person to ensure that 432 federal schools and colleges in Islamabad are overseen efficiently and effectively to benefit over 243,000 students enrolled in classes from pre-school to post-graduation. "Not long ago, an FDE chief, who had the specified educational qualifications, struggled to deliver the goods just because he lacked practical experience in school administration," he said. Another professor lamented "changes" to recruitment rules to fill the top FDE position and said it seemed that college principals were deliberately barred from the race for the key posting. "We've got so many educators with extensive experience and knowledge of educational systems, but authorities played the criteria game to shut them out of the posting exercise," she told 'The News'.

She complained that she possessed a Master's in education and 25 years of teaching experience but couldn't apply for the DG's position.

"There is a need for the revision of recruitment rules to fill the top FDE post to provide senior professors and principals with the opportunity to take their invaluable expertise to the directorate for its better functioning and furthering the cause of learning in Islamabad," she said.

A college principal said the eligibility criteria for the FDE chief's posting should be revised to ensure that the post goes to someone with both academic qualifications and practical experience that is conducive to effective educational leadership. "The education minister should intervene to fix the issue," he said, underscoring the importance of experience and practical knowledge for effectively managing educational institutions in the capital city.