Controversial Education Policies and Future of Teachers

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Ali Gul Leghari-Johi
IBA passed Junior Elementary School Teachers (JESTs) and Early Childhood Teachers ECTs) 2018 are protesting throughout the Sindh for regularization and issuance of their increments since initial date of joining. More than 3200 extra-ordinary teachers who burnt mid oil and qualified a hard written test of conducted by IBA in 2018 are those young teachers, most of them are performing their duties far from their homes with modern teaching methods and technics on very low salaries. Though, they havn’t completed two years of their service yet their teaching results are much worth praising. After the continuous protests, sit-ins and a chain of campaign using media platform, Education Secretary stated that IBA passed JESTs and ECTs are still on contract and they have to wait for their increment and regularization untill their three years of contract period is over. It is to some extent acceptable that as per Educational Policy 2017, employees shall remain on contract for three years, but regularization of employees is not mentioned anywhere in the policy. The policy says that after completing three years tenure, Education authority may extend their contract for two years more. On the other hand, new policy 2021 clearly states that newly appointed teachers will be on three years contract but they may likely be regularized on their performance basis by competent authority. It should also be noted that new recruitment process of JESTs, and PSTs is underway which will be carried out as per Educational Policy 2021. Pay scale of JESTs at initial appointment is 14, whereas according to new policy, the grade of PST (Primary School Teachers) has been upgraded from 09 to 14 which is equivalent to JESTs. With the implementation of new policy, many questions have started pinning the minds of inservice teachers especially the newly appointed JESTs and ECT Teachers. It is quite surprising that different policies for different teachers are being enforced in same department and same province. 1. Upgradation of PSTs from BPS 09 to 14 is much appreciating but is there any mechanism for upgradation of JESTs from BPS 14 to 15 or 16? If PSTs are upgraded then JESTs also deserve the same. 2. Annual increment of JESTs and ECTs have been suspended after declaring them as contractual employees whereas in previous time, IBA passed 2008 teachers, IQRA teachers, SU teachers 2010 and NTS teachers 2013-14, all the mentioned teachers have been taking their annual increment since their initial appointment and even their probation period. Why the suspension of increment have been applied over only IBA JESTs and ECTs?3. According to policy 2021, the contractual employees are likely to be permanent based on their performance, whereas this point lacks in Educational policy 2017. It means that newly recruited teachers may be regularized soon possibly before the previously recruited teachers, i,e, IBA JESTs and ECTs because this policy doesn’t apply over them even they are doubtable about their regularization. How come juniors may be regularized before the seniors or seniors may be sent back their homes after their contractual period?4. IBA pass JESTs & ECTs are recruited on pure merit basis, succeeded to qualify one of the toughest tests equivalent to commission level test. Such teachers who have simultaneously been working hard in their respective schools. They have filled the space of shortage of teachers. Do such teacher still need to work on a contract job? Last but not least, such meritorious teachers need encouragement rather than creating hindrances on their way. All the senior teachers are most respectable teachers but It is conceded as true that young teachers on very low salaries are much better in their teaching more than many senior teachers who are taking their salaries in millions. Our honourable Education Secretary once said that teachers should concentrate to their teaching, all of their issues will be resolved. I humbly request our Education Secretary to ensure a horizontal system for all the teachers. A committed teacher would never want to contend these issues if they are resolved on timely basis. It would be appreciating to implement a single and parellel policy for all the teachers. Resuming the respect of teachers is the need of the day and trend of disgracing our nation builders by shelling, physical torturing and water streaming for getting their rights should come to an end.