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July 22, 2019

Endless ad-hocism: Acting FDE chief gets another term extension


July 22, 2019

Islamabad : Continuing with its policy of ad-hocism towards public sector education in the Islamabad Capital Territory, the Ministry of Federal Education and Vocational Training has formally extended the term of its joint secretary, Syed Umair Javed, as the acting director-general of the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE), the regulator for over 420 government schools and colleges in Islamabad, for three more months.

In April 2019, Umair Javed was given the additional charge of ‘looking after the work’ of the top FDE office for three months.

Though his term as the acting FDE head expired in June 2019, the ministry neither extended it nor made a fresh appointment to the post leaving the directorate without the top boss. Now, after the passing of many weeks, the ministry has again asked Umair Javed to act as a stand-in for the permanent FDE chief besides discharging his duties as the joint secretary.

He will hold this additional responsibility for the next three months or until the position is filled permanently by an official from within the FDE or colleges overseen by it.

The directorate hasn’t got a permanent director-general since December 2016 when the then DG, Dr Shahnaz A Riaz, quit the post on attaining the age of superannuation.

Instead of filling the top vacancy on a permanent basis, first the erstwhile Capital Administration and Development Division and then the federal education ministry, which took the administrative control of the FDE afterward, kept posting its one officer after another or outsiders as the interim FDE chief, causing unrest among the directorate’s own staff members.

Resenting the ‘look after charge syndrome’, the officials complained that the prolonged ad-hocism had caused an administrative mess at the directorate.

They also insisted that an ‘alien’ to the organisation, the acting FDE chief lacked experience and expertise to oversee colleges and schools, so he had messed up things at the directorate by concentrating powers in the hands of few blue-eyed officers.

The officials said the cause of education in Islamabad had become a casualty due to ad-hocism at FDE, which was unlikely to end in near future.

“Ad-hocism has virtually shattered the foundations of the FDE. Recently, the administrative powers of four directors were given away to a blue-eyed director on a ‘hit and trial’ basis,” an official told ‘The News’.

The official said things at the rudderless directorate won’t improve until it got a regular head.

The teachers also complained that the ministry’s unwillingness to fill the top FDE post on a permanent basis had adversely impacted on the overall efficiency of schools and colleges in Islamabad due to a ‘lack of supervision’.

A college’s assistant professor said the promotion of many teachers had been pending for years due to ad-hocism at the FDE and lack of interest on part of the acting DGs.

“With the ministry delaying the teachers’ promotion, the successive acting FDE DGs didn’t take the matter seriously. The denial of promotion has dispirited teachers,” he said.

Another teacher complained that recently two women teachers had retired without being granted the due promotion.

He said the acting FDE head was least bothered about the matter and focused his attention on the enrolment of out-of-school children to attract media coverage and please top bosses.

Insisting the persistent ad-hocism at the directorate has led to autocratic decisions and thus, causing a creeping sense of unfairness, the teacher called for the early appointment of a regular head to the FDE to strengthen it as an institution to further the cause of education in Islamabad.

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