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January 25, 2020

FDE casual leave order finds no takers among principals


January 25, 2020

Islamabad : The principals of government colleges in Islamabad’s urban areas have given the thumbs down to the Federal Directorate of Education’s (FDE) sudden move to make them ask the respective area education officers (AEOs) for casual leaves.

Earlier, the college heads would put up casual leave applications to the FDE director (colleges).

Without citing any reason in a recent notification, the FDE, regulator for the local public sector educational institutions, declared AEO the competent authority to grant casual leaves to the school and college principals.

The move didn’t sit well with the principals, who even consider the post of AEO for urban areas to be of no use.

They say they’ll formally convey their grievances on the matter to the FDE director general once he returns from a foreign trip.

Currently, Islamabad’s rural areas have four AEOs, one each for Bhara Kahu, Nilore, Sihala and Tarnol sectors, to oversee colleges and schools of their respective areas. The urban areas have two AEOs.

According to principals, the concept of AEO was alien to the federal capital’s urban areas until a few years ago.

“The remote rural areas need AEOs to handle a large number of primary, middle and secondary schools but this post for urban Islamabad is unnatural. There’s no harmony between urban area AEO and college heads,” a principal told ‘The News’.

He said neither the AEO post for urban areas was sanctioned nor was such an officer needed in the presence of the FDE directors and director general.

“The issues of colleges are different from the schools’, so the former should be placed under the administrative control of the director general,” he said.

Another college principal said the delegation of administrative powers to the FDE officers and institutions had created unrest and resentment among college heads.

He said the urban area colleges were headed by the BPS-20 principals and functioned under the administrative control of a director and director general of the FDE and therefore, the posting of another boss for them i.e. AEO serves no useful purpose.

“The AEO is like a misfit in the administrative hierarchy of FDE and colleges. It is ridiculous and unnatural that a BPS-20 principal has two bosses both holding BPS-19. This inequitable delegation of powers impacts the FDE and educational institutions overseen by it with the trust, loyalty and understanding of staff members being the ultimate casualty,” he said.

A senior college teacher insisted that the ‘multiple boss dilemma’ had caused resentment that could de-motivate principals.

“Ad-hocism, the concentration of powers in the hands of a few, and inefficiency at the FDE not only harm the FDE-college unity but also leave devastating impact on the output of educational institutions,” she said.

A college principal resented that the FDE bosses didn’t involve heads of the educational institutions in the decision-making process, especially on the delegation of powers.

He said college heads were really confused about who our immediate boss is the director (human resource management) or AEO.

The principal also said it was very strange that he had to look to a junior officer for permission to avail himself of casual leaves.

As the rumour has it that the next move of the FDE is to authorise AEOs to write the performance evaluation reports of principals, the college heads say they won’t accept it at any cost.

They wonder how a BPS-19 officer will write PERs of BPS-20 and 21 officers (principals).

A representative of the Federal Government College Teachers Association also said empowering a junior officer to grant casual leaves to seniors was unfair and it would bear upon the overall productivity of colleges.

“It takes years to build institutions but bad decisions destroy them in days. Islamabad has colleges of good repute, so the federal education secretary should step in to save them from possible harm by blocking the unwise FDE moves and ensuring their development in consultation with principals,” he said. He also demanded a separate department at the FDE to administer colleges like provinces.