Monday May 29, 2023

FDE directives may increase risk of spread of COVID-19

June 02, 2020

Islamabad:The recent directives of Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) to the heads of all its 423 educational institutions, through a notification, asking to ensure presence of all their administrative staff is feared to put their lives on risks during the prevailing crisis of coronavirus.

According to an official source, it was decided by the government to keep all the educational institutions across country closed till July 15 as a precautionary measure to stop the spread of coronavirus. However, FDE asked heads of all 423 schools and colleges on May 29 (Friday) to ensure the presence of their staff members on duty.

Not only the staff members but some teachers are also called by the principals on daily basis. Earlier, only the principals, vice-principals, drawing and disbursing officers, and limited number of administrative staff showed up at work in the educational institutions.

Now besides all the administrative staff, five to ten teachers are also called by the heads of the various educational institutions to ensure their presence in spite of the fact there was nothing important to do, the source disclosed. A Principal of a Model College on the condition of anonymity said, The period up to July 15 has been treated as summer vacation.

During summer vacation academic activities are suspended so there is no need to keep all the administrative staff present in the educational institutions. Only few members of supporting staff can easily run the business to avoid the spread of contagious disease of COVID-19. A principal of a school said, “as there is limited official work in my school due to absence of students and summer vacation so I asked the staff to attend the college on rotating basis. They are doing their job actively. So there is no need to create a crowd in the office.”

A principal of a girl’s college told on the condition of anonymity that the orders for regular attendance at work rendered staff members vulnerable to COVID-19. She said the heads of educational institutions were earlier asked to call in only limited staff for necessary work but the fresh orders for attendance had alarmed all staffers about their safety.

The government had ordered the closure of educational institutions to prevent its employees from the virus after its outbreak but the FDE’s orders for us all to report to work daily have put our lives at risk, said a clerk working in a school.

The regular attendance orders became even more unjustifiable in light of the growing COVID-19 deaths in the country. When contacted, Assistant Director (Academics) FDE, Anjum Zaheer Satti, who issued the notification directing the heads to ensure presence of administrative staff, said that this decision was taken on the instructions of the Ministry of Education and Professional Training.

He said FDE has not given any such instructions to the teachers to come to the institutions however, the administrative staff was called on the directions of higher authorities so that they can complete the tasks related to the smooth closure of budgetary issues at the end of financial year in June.

He said it is the prerogative of the principals to call the need based administrative staff in their respective institutions. About some teachers called by the principals, he said may be they were called by the heads to ask about some record information.