Installation of biometric system at govt schools delayed
RAWALPINDI: The installation of biometric system in government schools of the province has been delayed for one year due to lack of funds.
The move was aimed at ensuring teachers’ attendance through thumb impressions — move that had been rejected by the teachers when it was initially proposed.
The decision of delaying the systems’ installation has received a welcome response from teachers’ organisations who have also demanded that the plan be cancelled altogether.
An official of the education department, who requested not to be named, revealed that it was decided at first that the provincial education secretariat would provide funds for the project but later it failed to do so and asked schools to pay to get the system installed themselves.
The idea will never be materialised now as the government has no funds for the project, he said, adding further that the deadline for the installation of the system was February 2015.
Punjab Teachers Union (PTU) Rawalpindi Chapter President Raja Shahid Mubarik told The Express Tribune that the teaching community has hailed the delay and are demanding the cancellation of the proposed system.
He was of the view that it seemed as if the teaching community is a soft target for the provincial government, saying the purpose of the initiative is to force teachers to be regular which is tantamount to mistrusting them.
The government has never sincerely tried to mitigate the real problems confronted by teachers but is coming with expensive and attractive ideas to hoodwink the masses, he said.
“The teachers are being engaged in tasks other than imparting education to children and then it is demanded that they give 100 per cent attendance and result at the end of the year. How we can come up to their expectations in this environment,” said Mubarik.
The PTU official further lamented the lack of adequate salaries, and said the government cannot force them to become regular. He said there is an urgent need to redress teachers’ problems whether they are financial, structural or administrative if they want results from their side.
Mubarik suggested that instead of wasting money on ‘dreamy’ schemes, the ‘short-of-funds’ government should utilise the same amount for improvement of dilapidated infrastructure of schools and dismal packages of teachers. “We have raised the issue with the district coordination officer too and he supported our demands,” he said.
Another teacher, who requested anonymity, said the government needs to trust teachers and support them instead of going behind their back with such schemes. He added that in his own opinion the government was in an effort to find some excuse for the privatisation of the sector.
Executive District Officer (Education) Qazi Zahoorul Haq told The Express Tribune that absenteeism was a chronic problem in government schools but he had no details about the project; why it was cancelled and when the department plans to undertake it. “Only the office of the secretary education could provide the whole details,” he informed.
When contacted, DCO Sajid Zafar Daal said the plan was under consideration at the higher level but the district administration has not been yet directed to take any step in this regard.
“The demands of teachers will be taken into consideration before taking any step”, he assured.