Monday July 15, 2024

Situationer: Education lowest priority of Sindh authorities

By Syed Muhammad Askari
June 01, 2022

KARACHI: Education has been the province of Sindh's provincial government's lowest priority. The education system is on the verge of collapse due to the transfer of control of boards from the Sindh governor to chief minister and then to the minister. This lack of interest has led to a crisis in Sindh's boards, and the entire system is currently managed ad hoc. Currently, Matriculation examinations are being conducted, while Intermediate examinations are slated for mid-June of this year. There are a total of eight boards at the Matric and Intermediate levels in Sindh, with 1.4 million students registered. Since the previous five years, none of these boards have a permanent Controller of Examinations and Secretary, but five former chairman handle the affairs of five boards in Sindh.

Sukkur Board has been administered for the past eleven years by Syed Mujtaba Shah, the brother of a significant politician. He is 67 years old now. The Sindh Board of Technical Education has been led for the past eight years by Dr. Masroor Shaikh, notwithstanding his retirement.

Dr. Farooq Hassan is the acting chairman of the board in the ancestral city of former Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari, Nawabshah. He has been in charge of the business for the past two years. He is also the Vice Chancellor of a public university, for the record. Retorted Professor Barkat Hyderi's term as chairman of the board of Mirpurkhas expired nearly two years ago, but he is still in charge. As a result of Controlling Authority's generosity, he has also been given the position of Chairman of the Hyderabad board.

When Governor Sindh was the Controlling Authority, permanent candidates were appointed to the positions of Chairman, Controller Examination, and Secretary. As soon as CM Sindh became the Controlling Authority of the boards, ad hocism became the norm, but merit died when the Controlling Authority was moved to the province minister.

Surprisingly, after interviewing the candidates for the positions of Controller Examination and Secretary, the Search Committee found that just two candidates were qualified for the positions.

Although the Controlling Authority did not appoint both Zarina Rashid and Dr. Naveed Ahmed Gujjar, they were both successful applicants. Similarly, the Search Committee held interviews for the position of Chairman in various Boards and recommended Noman Ahsan, Fazeelat Mehdi, Qazi Arif Ali, Rafia Bano, and Col (R) Alamdar for the position. Even yet, the Controlling Authority altered the list of recommended candidates and imposed an Intelligence Clearance requirement on those who were recommended by the search committee.

Despite security agencies clearing the names of recommended candidates, the Controlling Authority intentionally delayed issuing the notification of the appointment of the top three selected candidates in the hope that aggrieved parties would file a petition in court and the Controlling Authority would be forced to annul the entire merit-based Search Committee selection process.

In spite of the fact that he was not a contender for the position of chairman, the person who filed the writ against this process has nothing to do with the entire proceeding. The process of appointing a Chairman to various Boards in Sindh has once again failed due to a lack of interest on the part of the Controlling Authority, rendering this entire endeavour worthless. In addition to appointing ad hoc and temporary board members, the concerned officials disregard merit in favour of the whims and desires of political masters. By appointing retired officials and maintaining a culture of ad hocism, the government is in violation of Supreme Court decisions. This correspondent attempted to call Minister of Controlling Authority Ismail Rahu and Secretary of Boards and Universities Mureed Rahimoon, but they declined to comment.