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April 9, 2020

Flaws may mar newly implemented e-transfer policy for teachers

Peshawar

April 9, 2020

PESHAWAR: Amid reported flaws and shortcomings in the recently promulgated e-transfer policy for teachers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the elementary and secondary education department is about to issue online transfers of nearly 2,000 teachers.

A total of 10,000 vacant positions were advertised through the online applications for transfers, but only 2,000 could apply for the transfers as the criteria fixed for the purpose carried a number of shortcomings, reliable sources told The News.

The provincial government recently approved the e-transfer policy soon after the long ban on transfers and postings were lifted after several months. The idea behind the introduction of the new policy was to ensure transparency and merit in the transfers and lessen the burden on the department concerned besides reducing political interference in the process.

However, the flaws identified in the policy would certainly mar its efficacy, the sources said. Under the policy, vacant positions would be uploaded online at the start of the academic year and the teachers seeking transfer to a desired location would be asked to apply.

Certain pre-conditions have been fixed for applying online. The tenure for the transfer has been fixed as two years for soft areas and 1.5 year for hard areas. No one serving in BS-16 and below would be allowed to get transferred to another district. Persons suffering from notified ailments like cancer, tuberculosis and others would be given some extra points. Also, some concession would be given to spouse. No transfer would be allowed from the erstwhile tribal areas to other districts of the province and vice versa.

Also, hard areas within districts have not been notified so far. The applications once submitted would require verification by the principals/headmasters of the schools concerned. These conditions have made the process complicated and this is the reason that only 2,000 teachers have applied for the 10,000 positions for transfer. As there would be competition among them for transfer, only half of the applicants are expected to be actually transferred, the sources said.

Counting flaws in the new system, an official told The News that under the policy only vacant positions would be announced. He said the influential teachers holding favourite positions for many years would remain protected. He noted that hard areas within districts have not been notified and the ban on transfer from and to tribal areas was another serious flaw that may result in failure of the new policy. Also, the exemption has been given to chief minister and minister education for making direct transfers manually and it may intensify political interference further, the sources said.

In view of the reported flaws, there is greater need of issuing another phase of the policy wherein all these shortcomings are properly addressed, the sources added.

Some reports suggested that the provincial government and the education department had deliberately left the flaws in the policy unaddressed for their purposes. According to an official in the provincial government, a proper online policy if implemented would thwart the growing political interference in the education department and majority of the elected members and ministers did not want this to happen.

“The political people are always interested in appeasing their blue-eyed people. By transferring teachers to their desired positions has been the most favourite job of these members of provincial assemblies and other elected people. Therefore, they would never want a transparent system to be implemented,” the official argued. There are reports that political interference in the education department during the current tenure of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) rule has surpassed all the previous political governments. The reported political interference has adversely affected the positive initiative of the provincial government that it had launched with the support of Adam Smith International. Under the initiative, monthly scorecards of all the districts are prepared and released and the best performing districts are given cash prizes and letters of appreciation. However, this system has also failed to produce the best results due to political likes and dislikes, according to sources.