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October 29, 2015

Sindh likely to ban teachers’ associations again


October 29, 2015

Teachers’ associations are likely to be banned again in Sindh as the chief minister noted on Wednesday that educationists were more indulged in politics instead of focusing on their actual job.
“Teachers are not supposed to form unions and act like political parties,” Qaim Ali Shah said at a meeting wherein issues related to the education sector were discussed including enrollments, bogus appointments, illegal promotions, and absence of teachers.
The chief minister was of the view that the public education sector should be declared an essential service and teachers’ bodies outlawed.
He directed the chief secretary and the education secretary to propose ways to declare the education sector as an essential service.
The chief minister expressed his displeasure over the recent press statements issued by teachers’ associations. Shah noted that teachers’ job was to take classes, but they were indulged in politics instead.
Ironically, it was Shah’s government that had in its previous tenure lifted the ban on teachers’ associations in March 2009. Pir Mazharul Haq, the then provincial education minister, had announced the lifting of the ban back then.
The ban had been imposed by the government of his predecessor, Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim, in July 2006. Teachers were warned of disciplinary action under the Removal from Service (Special Powers) Ordinance, 2000 if they formed associations.
A notification issued at that time read, “Government servants serving in educational institutions have formed illegal unions and associations that are being used by them as bargaining agents and are involved in anti-social activities, including agitation and illegal strikes. Because of such activities, the academic environment at these institutions has been destroyed.”
The education department had said all its employees, including the teaching staff, were civil servants and their employment terms and conditions were regulated

under the Sindh Civil Servants Act, 1973.
"There is no provision in the Societies Registration Act 1860 and the Voluntary Welfare and Voluntary Agencies (Registration and Control) Ordinance, 1961 for the registration of civil servant unions or associations in the province,” it had notified.
In December 2006, however, the Sindh High Court had overturned the ban.
During Wednesday’s meeting, additional chief secretary of the education Department Fazlullah Pechuho said he had developed a biometric system that could verify and monitor the attendance of teachers. He added that over 90 percent data of teachers had been uploaded in the system and it had started working.
He said the appointments, transfers and promotions of teachers were being verified through the biometric system.
“Some promotions have been found to be illegal and action is being taken,” he told the chief minister.
“The system has also helped in identifying ghost employees, latecomers, habitual absentees and bogus appointments.”
The secretary said the enrolment ratio in 2002 was 52 percent and now it stood at 54 percent. The chief minister said the enrolment ratio needed to be improved on a priority basis.
Chief secretary Siddique Memon said he had developed a close working relationship with the education and finance departments and the Sindh accountant general. “Through this coordination, the matter of bogus appointments has come to an end because the accountant general doesn’t accept appointment orders until they are sent to them by the education secretary with his code,” he added.
The chief secretary many bogus appointments were identified in Sukkur and Matiari and illegal promotions in Qambar-Shadadkot.
The chief minister directed the secretary education to follow a case in the Supreme Court wherein some teachers had challenged the separation of the teaching and management cadres.

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