BY ALI NAQVI –
The Punjab Regularization of Service Bill 2018 was passed by the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab on 27th April 2018. Governor of the Punjab assented to the bill on April 30. The same day it was notified and published in The Punjab Gazette. According to the Punjab Regularization of Service Act 2018 (ACT XV of 2018), the contract employee who has continuously been serving as such for a period not less than four years on the commencement of the Act shall be eligible to be considered for appointment on regular basis.
School Education Department was also supposed to regularize teachers having more than four years of service period. Last year, when the bill was passed, government teachers in Punjab were relieved to hear a positive development. They waited patiently for the implementation but since then nothing has come to pass. The new Punjab Government, it seems, has no priority to education. In some of the divisions of Punjab the contract of teachers has been extended which is not in compliance with Regularization of Service Act 2018. But the situation is even worse in other divisions. Teachers in Lahore division have neither been regularized nor their contracts been extended yet.
This is indeed an alarming situation. The contracts of teachers, serving under School Education Department Punjab, have expired in April, 2019. The panic is creeping in among teachers in the wake of uncertainty. How could a teacher, who is not sure of his/her present, shape the future of students? What if they were not regularized? What if the contracts were not extended? Will they get the salaries? These are the questions that are disturbing the minds of thousands of teachers in Punjab. All concerned authorities including the CM office and Dr. Murad Ras, Provincial Minister of Punjab for School Education should take notice of this issue and act promptly. The teachers should be regularized from the date they are due with arears.
Education is the backbone of a civilized nation. Do we qualify to be called civilized? People were expecting a lot of good things from the PTI government especially in the health and education sector. But nothing substantial has come out yet. There are issues of policy making, implementation and governance. There are also rumors that CM Punjab Usman Buzdar might step down or asked to do so as things are looking gloomy for the government in Punjab.
If we want a literate Punjab and a better Pakistan we must take care of our teachers. They are the real agents of change. No revolution, social, political or economic, can start without good and well-educated teachers at its back.