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June 4, 2015

Unrest as interns ‘forced’ to work after contracts end

Lahore

June 4, 2015

LAHORE
The College Teachers Interns (CTIs), hired as a stopgap arrangement to teach at Government College for Women Gulberg, have not been paid since October 2014 and their contracts have also expired while the college administration is still “forcing” them to continue till August this year.
As if the delay in the monthly stipend of Rs 30,000 (To each of the CTI) was not enough, the college administration had now created more unrest among interns as they feared that by discontinuing the “thankless” job they might be denied their rightful remuneration (or deductions) as well as experience letters meant to be awarded to them for future chance to apply for regular posts through the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC). It is pertinent to mention here that through an advertisement by Higher Education Department (HED) Punjab over 5,000 CTIs were hired in public colleges across the province to teach from October 01, 2014 to May 31, 2015 or till the arrival of regular incumbent/contract appointees (whichever earlier). These interns were hired to overcome the shortage of teaching staff at public colleges.
Government College for Women Gulberg is among a few colleges where the CTIs have yet to receive monthly stipend. However, its story is different as the CTIs instead of being said “goodbye” and thanked after paying them their dues are being forced to continue till August despite their contracts expired on May 31.
Neither college can extend contracts itself nor has it offered fresh contracts to the CTIs and everything is being done verbally, it is learnt.
The News has copies of contracts of some of the CTIs which clearly state that the contracts are from 1.10.2014 to 31.05.2015. Talking to The News, some of the CTIs shared their agony and said it was unfortunate that they had yet to be compensated despite the lapse of eight months.
“You can imagine how families have to manage their financial affairs in this era of ever increasing

inflation”, said one of the dejected CTIs. Requesting not to be named, the CTI went on saying that she and her family members had never imagined that this teaching experience would become a nightmare for them. She said Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif claimed to be education friendly and questioned “Did he (the chief minister) ever realise the plight of the youth working to further his agenda of education promotion?”
Another CTI commented that Government College for Women Gulberg was situated in the heart of Punjab, headquarter of provincial bureaucracy, and still those at the helm of affairs were so lethargic and indifferent. It is pertinent to mention here that The News had first highlighted the issue of non-payment of stipends to the CTIs in February and then in March this year which forced HED to speed up the process of payment to interns. However despite all this, the plight of CTIs of Government College for Women Gulberg still needs urgent action by those who matter.
When contacted, Principal Farzana Saleem claimed that the contracts awarded to around 30 CTIs in her college was valid till August 2015. Confirming that the CTIs have yet to receive their monthly stipend since October 2014, she claimed that remuneration till May 2015 would be paid to the CTIs by the AG office through online transfer soon while the amount for further period till August would be paid after the upcoming provincial
budget.

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