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May 26, 2016

Teachers out on the streets for wages yet again

Karachi

May 26, 2016

After meeting government officials, All Karachi NTS Pass Teachers gives June 1 ultimatum for release of salaries; to protest outside CM House if deadline missed

Karachi

The city witnessed yet another protest by schoolteachers on Wednesday as scores of educators – all approved under the National Testing Service’s guidelines – came out onto the streets to demand payment of salaries pending for the past 18 months. 

The teachers, appointed in 2014 and 2015 through the NTS, gathered outside the NJV Government Boys Higher Secondary School on main MA Jinnah Road, opposite Radio Pakistan, at around 09:30am.

Acting under the banner of a joint platform, ‘All Karachi NTS Pass Teachers’, they started moving towards the Sindh Secretariat at around 10:45pm, stating that such demonstrations remain the only way to attract the attention of senior government officials and bureaucrats. 

After a nearly two-hour wait, a five-member delegation of the demonstrating teachers was invited for a meeting with Special Secretary Education Aliya Shahid, who had also called in Director Schools (Education) Dr Mansoor Abbas and Saleem Awan, in-charge of the District Recruitment Committee, for the deliberations.

Representatives of the protesting teachers told The News that the delegation had taken up the issue of unpaid salaries and the continuing ‘discriminatory attitude’ of the government officials concerned. 

They expressed their frustrations over the fact that senior education officials would usually order security to lockdown the gates and disperse the crowds whenever the teachers came out to demand their rightful remuneration. 

Highlighting the unwavering commitment of the educators, the delegation members told the officials that despite being unpaid for as long as 18 months, the teachers were still performing their duties with due diligence. 

They maintained that there were still around 500 primary schoolteachers (PST) and junior schoolteachers (JST) who had not received a single penny for more than a year now, and demanded that the lists of unpaid PSTs and JSTs should be uploaded immediately and their salaries, along with all previous payments, be released before June 1. 

The delegation members told the officials that around 250 schoolteachers, who had been appointed for schools which already had no capacity for new teachers, were later shifted to other institutes, but the education department refused to pay them for the time they served under the initial posting. 

According to the protesting educators, only 1,400 teachers were appointed against 2,525 vacancies, but still the officials concerned have failed to manage the affairs properly. 

If the government failed to fulfil these demands by June 1, the teachers would be forced to organise yet another sit-in at the CM House, the delegation informed the government officials.   

Officials’ response

Saleem Awan, the DRC in-charge who is also serving as the additional director for primary schools, claimed that all preparations for release of pending salaries were in place, but some minor issues had crept up that impeded the process of uploading the necessary lists. 

He claimed that, ideally, the process would be completed by Friday (tomorrow) and, if not, by May 30 or 31 at the latest.

The teachers’ delegation, however, outright rejected his claims as they pointed out that similar excuses had been proffered in the last meeting, also held in the presence of Aliya Shahid. 

Dr Mansoor Abbas, who has recently taken charge of the post of director schools, claimed he was unaware of these issues and assured the delegation he would personally correspond with the Accountant General’s office to resolve the matter at the earliest. 

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