Schoolteachers blame DEAs for poor results in SSC exams

LAHORE:28 July: The Punjab public school teachers have blamed the district education authorities (DEAs) and officials in the Education Department for poor results of matriculation examination by government owned schools across the province. They said that after the results, the Punjab government had started a crackdown on the teachers of schools whose results were very poor, but no action was being taken against the DEAs who, they said, were equally responsible for the results. They also said that the government's experimental policies were also a reason behind such unfortunate results. It is pertinent to mention here that despite million of rupees being spent, the Punjab government schools were unable to perform well in the recent results of matriculation examination 2017. Even among top positions, students of government schools grabbed only a few. After the poor results, the Punjab government asked the School Education Department (SED) to take stern action against the head teachers of the schools with low passing percentage, besides other teachers. On the other hand, teachers are unable to accept the blame that they were behind the poor results and claimed that they had been barred by the Punjab government through its experimental policies and plans in the education sector. Talking to Daily Times, All Teachers Alliance President Sufi Ramzan Inqlabi explained that only teachers were not responsible for the poor results of public sector schools. "The wrong policies of the chief executive officer (CEOs) and district education officers (DEOs) had totally ruined the education system." He added that the government at its end usually handed over poor performing schools to non-governmental organisations or the Punjab Education Foundation (PEF), which caused hurdles in the way of underprivileged children who wanted to get education. "Our fresh MSc and MPhil degree holders are forced to teach at NGO-handled schools for Rs 4,000 to Rs 5,000 per months, which is unjust," Sufi Ramzan added. He further said that the government had fixed minimum wages for a labourer at Rs 15,000 but the fact was that a teacher holding a master's degree was teaching at schools run by PEF and NGOs at every low wages. He demanded the Punjab government to take steps rather than indulge in experiments. Similarly, Punjab Teachers Union (PTU) Central Secretary General Kashif Shahzad Chaudhry said that due to the negligence of the DEAs, they were facing lack of proper staff as the government had decreased the number of staff working in the EDO system. He added that besides, it was also very awful that the Punjab government and the SED had failed in framing rules and regulations for DEAs. "How can one take action against an organisation if you have not done enough for that," he questioned. He added that the reason behind making DEAs was to add political influence in the education sector, as individuals with no experience in teaching or working in the Education Department had been appointed as CEOs of the DEAs. When contacted, Lahore District Education Authority CEO Bashid Ahmad Guraya said that he did not believe that only teachers or only DEAs were responsible for the poor results, as it was a collective responsibility that had to be shared by everyone - from district officers to head teachers and subject teachers. He added that action should not be taken only keeping in view the bad or poor results but other factors should also be considered in this regard. "Like all teachers are not responsible for poor results, all DEAs might not be responsible in this regard," he said, adding that DEAs were given a very short time to show their performances, so any blame in this regard must be avoided.Published in Daily Times, July 28th , 2017.

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