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October 9, 2019

FDE’s contract extension proposal raises questions


October 9, 2019

Islamabad :In a questionable move, the regulator for Islamabad’s government schools and colleges has recommended the extension of the contracts of over a dozen BPS-19 and BPS-17 employees for the third time.

Among these Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) employees are three area education officers (BPS-19) and 11 Montessori teachers (BPS-17), who were hired late 2016 during the last PML-N government for one year on a contractual basis with the then premier’s education adviser, Ali Raza, and the then assistant educational adviser at the Capital Administration and Development Division and a current FDE director, Saqib Shahab, overseeing the exercise.

They got their contracts extended twice.

Among them are AEOs Saira Amjad, Nazmeen Sohail and Sohail Khan and Montessori teachers Sana Rizwan, Hira Khattak, Asma Munawar, Maria Iftikhar, Quratul Ain, Rania Mudassar, Shahida Kiyani, Nazish Rehman, Azra Kanwal, Farah Altaf and Amina Rafiq.

Ironically, only Sana Rizwan and Hira Khattak hold a one-year Montessori diploma, a must for appointment as the Montessori teacher. Now, as their contracts are to expire next month, the FDE has recommended to the education ministry, which has its administrative control, to extend their service term for the third time in a breach of rules with many considering influential FDE Director Saqib Shahab to be behind the move.

The insiders claimed that though the three AEOs had formally requested the FDE for service regularisation through the Federal Public Service Commission, no rule allowed them the contract extension or absorption in the department as regular employees.

They also said the appointment letters clearly showed that Montessori teachers were hired on a contractual basis for one year.

The sources said service rules for the posts of those teachers were notified in the Gazette of Pakistan a year after their appointment but they’re concealed by the ‘patrons’ of those teachers at the FDE and thus, ensuring their contract extension by the education ministry.

They claimed that among Montessori teachers was Saqib Shahab’s second wife, Asma Munawar, who not only got herself illegally re-designated as a regular BPS-17 senior school teacher (SST) lately but she also availed herself of over 90 earned leaves last year against the rules, which restricted the number of such leaves to 12 per year.

The sources insisted that AEO Saira Amjad had also been away for six months, perhaps in Canada for immigration, though rules didn’t allow temps such a long absence from duty.

In his brief stint as the FDE director-general, Ali Ahmad Kharal had made a committee of senior principals in December 2018 to amend rules to adjust the new teaching cadre, which emerged after the 2011 up-gradation of trained graduate teachers (BPS-16) of the model school and colleges (former FG schools and higher secondary schools) as SST (BPS-17), sources said.

They said the committee did the job and submitted the new recruitment rules to the DG’s office but they’re rejected by the then FDE director (schools), Saqib Shahab, who himself formulated those rules afterward favouring ‘blue-eyed’ SSTs.

The rules were enforced in March this year but the school vice-principals and teachers challenged them separately in the Islamabad High Court over curtailed promotion quota for vice-principals and higher educational qualifications for serving teachers. The court was quick to issue a stay order stopping the FDE from making all sorts of fresh recruitment until the next hearing, which was fixed for November.

The insiders also claimed that while seeking the filling of around 480 posts of principals, vice-principals, SSTs and senior elementary teachers (drawing), both men and women, on the basis of initial appointment/direct recruitment quota, the FDE chief misled the FPSC in June this year by falsely claiming that there’s no litigation against those vacancies.

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