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September 16, 2019

Education ministry promotion notification stuck in red tape


September 16, 2019

Islamabad : Despite receiving a final written warning from the prime minister over red tape, the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training has denied promotion to its four BPS-19 officers, including two college principals, for three months.

The Central Selection Board, the top civil services promotion body, had recommended the promotion of many government officers, including four of the federal education ministry, to BPS-20 in the May 2019 meeting.

The Establishment Division later put up those recommendations to the prime minister for mandatory consent, which came on June 21, 2019. There followed the dispatch of the copies of the CSB meeting’s minutes to the relevant ministries on June 25, 2019, with instructions to notify promotions.

The ministries were quick to act accordingly. However, the education ministry didn’t formally promote Sheikh Azhar Sajjad as the BPS-20 director-general of the Directorate General of Special Education, Dr Nasreen Kausar Rafiq as the BPS-20 professor (female) (ex-FG Colleges), Qasim Masood as the BPS-20 professor (male) (ex-FG Colleges), and Arifullah Khan as the BPS-20 director-general of the National Training Bureau.

Sheikh Azhar Sajjad was lucky that his promotion was notified after the human rights ministry got the administrative control of his department, Directorate General of Special Education, lately.

Ironically, Arifullah Khan retired on September 2, 2019, as a BPS-19 officer frustrated due to bureaucratic red tape, while Dr Nasreen Kausar Rafiq and Qasim Masood continue to be denied the right to promotion.

Insiders insist that the matter has got stuck on the back burner due to the disinterest of the education secretary and the acting chief of the Federal Directorate of Education, which oversees Islamabad’s government schools and colleges.

The bureaucratic hurdles to the issuance of promotion notifications also go against the ‘red letter’ issued by the Prime Minister’s Office over a long delay in the promotion of officers (all types of ex-cadres) eligible for promotion but denied promotion for one reason or the other.

The ‘red letter’, a final warning on any displeasing act, was preceded by the ‘yellow letter’ issued to the ministry like others on August 17 after the lapse of half of the time given for the completion of tasks, including production of records of vacancies, promotion delays, and pending disciplinary proceedings against staff members.

An Establishment Division official declared the long delay in the promotion notification issuance defiance of the premier’s orders on part of the education ministry and warned that PM Imran Khan could act against the culpable officers.

He said usually, it took a day or two for a ministry to issue promotion notifications after receiving the copy of CSB meeting minutes but the formal education ministry promotions had been delayed for the reasons better known to its secretary.

A college teacher claimed that the officers awaiting promotion notification were ex-cadre officers belonging to the teaching profession and therefore, the education secretary was indifferent.

He said the ruling PTI had announced the agenda of institutional reforms for good governance but the bureaucracy was the main hurdle to it.

Another teacher complained that his timescale promotion had been pending since 2014 like many others but the relevant officers didn't bother about his misery.

A Federal Government College Teachers Association leader regretted that there was no official word for the long delay in the promotion notification issuance.

“Islamabad’s teaching community is really let down by the misconduct of bureaucracy at the education ministry. The promotion of senior teachers has a trickle-down effect as it helps their juniors climb the career ladder. In this case, the promotion of six teachers is affected. If two teachers are promoted to BPS-20, then two BPS-19 posts will fall vacant, which will be filled by two BPS-18 teachers on promotion. Similarly, the two vacant BPS-17 positions will lead to the promotion of two more teachers,” he said.

The FGCTA leader demanded the prime minister’s intervention for the due promotion of senior teachers saying the red tape in this respect is demoralising the teaching staff of FDE colleges.