Senate opposition worried about transfer of FDE schools to LG system – Journal

  • Two senators from the PTI also oppose this decision
  • Minister assures House that nothing to be done will harm education sector
  • Senator Ijaz Chaudhry says salaries and pensions of employees will be managed by the ministry

ISLAMABAD: The voice of protesting teachers echoed in the Senate after the joint opposition expressed resentment over the government’s decision to place Islamabad’s educational institutions under the mayor’s tutelage.

Opposition members were also joined by two key members of the Treasury Banks – Senators Faisal Javed Khan and Kamil Ali Agha.

The federal government had recently passed the Local Government Ordinance 2021, under which schools in the federal capital would be regulated by the yet-to-be elected mayor instead of the Ministry of Education.

Teaching and non-teaching staff at educational institutions run by the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) opposed the move and staged two protests in front of parliament and boycotted classes for a week.

The protesting teachers were of the opinion that the management of educational institutions was beyond the capacity of the local government, as more than 20 billion rupees was needed each year to manage them, adding that there was no justification for dissociating FDE schools from the Ministry of Education.

The Upper House addressed the issue of teachers on a motion jointly presented by Senator Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) Mushtaq Ahmad and Kamran Murtaza of Jamiat-i-Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), which questioned the rationale for the decision without giving the stakeholders confidence.

PTI Senator Faisal Javed Khan asked for clarification on how the resulting void would be filled until the new local government started working.

Senator Kamil Ali Agha, meanwhile, called placing educational institutions under the local government system a possible trick of private schools that could attract around 250,000 students from public schools.

He rejected the ordinance and said that while it was imperative to bring schools under the mayor’s tutelage, “let’s first let the system start working and show positive results in other areas before we move on. forward with the decision “.

The mover of the motion, Senator Mushtaq Ahmad, said the parliament was bypassed by the government and the decision on educational institutions was taken through an ordinance, adding that this step was a reminder of the colonial zone.

“How could educational institutions be placed under a municipality, which too was yet to be formed,” Ahmad said, adding that, it seems, “he [government] wants to progressively privatize all educational establishments, which are functioning very well ”.

Kamran Murtaza called on the house to play its part in preventing the government from taking the plunge and saving the future of 250,000 students and 14,000 teachers and non-teaching staff.

Senator Irfan Siddiqui, who is also the chairman of the Standing Senate Committee on Federal Education, said the government has made the education sector a laughing stock by the ordinance.

Meanwhile, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Mohammad Khan assured the House that the government would not take any action that would prove detrimental to the education system.

The matter is being discussed in standing committees of both chambers and all concerned will be confidential, Khan said.

PTI senator Ijaz Chaudhry, however, clarified that the salaries and pensions of employees of educational institutions would fall to the Ministry of Education and not to the local government.

Posted in Dawn, December 28, 2021

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