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May 10, 2015

Teachers continue protest


May 10, 2015

The sit-in protest by schoolteachers on the call of the Muttahida Mahaz Asataza Punjab (MMAP) continued on the second consecutive day on Saturday.
The schoolteachers had spent the night in the open at Faisal Chowk near the Punjab Assembly after they gathered from across the province on Friday afternoon.
The teachers were protesting against the Punjab government, especially Secretary Schools, for what they termed their anti-teacher and anti-education policies.
They were demanding provision of timescale and revision of pay scale and the provision of scale 14 to Primary School Teachers (PST), scale 16 to Elementary School Teacher (EST) and 17 to Secondary School Teacher (SST).
The schoolteachers were expressing concern at the casual leave and other leaves, which were not being granted despite the provision in their service. One of the main concerns from the teachers is their absence from the education related policymaking. On the other hand, President of Punjab Association of Subject Specialists (PASS) Rana Atta Muhammad, flanked by leaders of other teacher associations, addressed a press conference at Government High School, Model Town, and said the Punjab government had already accepted the demands of the teachers therefore there was no reason to hold a protest against the government.
He also said those involved in the protest belonged to a particular political party and allegedly had vested interests. He also appealed to the teachers to recognise their true leaders. He also lauded the efforts of Secretary Schools, Abdul Jabbar Shaheen, Additional Secretary Ahmed Ali Kamboh, and other officials of the School Education Department for agreeing to solve the problems being faced by the schoolteachers.
The PASS president also claimed that Secretary Schools had accepted all the 16 demands presented by the schoolteachers of different teachers’ associations.
Meanwhile, no government representative held a meeting with the protesting

teachers. However, some parliamentarians from opposition and members of the civil society, including renowned singer Jawad Ahmed, visited the sit-in protest and expressed solidarity with the protestors. The MMAP leaders said they had rejected the government’s offer to hold a dialogue with Secretary Schools on the grounds that the official was allegedly victimising the protesting teachers therefore no dialogue could be held with him.
Meanwhile, the protest by the MMAP, a group of different teachers’ associations, continued till the filing of this report.
Meanwhile in a press release, the Deputy Secretary (General) of Schools Department said the MMAP had gathered only 30 to 40 schoolteachers (out of over 370,000 teachers) and their demands were the same as already accepted by the department through a notification SO (SE-III) 5-61/2015 dated May 06.
As per notification, EDOs Education were directed to submit the working papers for in-service promotion of the PSTs and ESTs before the DPC and ensure their promotion before May 31. They have also been directed to convene the DPC meetings for the uplift of teachers before May 31.
About the casual leaves, the notification reads the immediate controlling officers (BS-16 and above) may sanction two casual leaves to the teachers per month in case of emergency. About the revision of pay scales, the notification interestingly reads: “The revision of pay scale is related to the Finance Department.”

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