FDE sacrifices one school to prop up another?
ISLAMABAD: The capital is home to a peculiar administrative practice; the cannibalisation of one successful government entity to ensure the success of another.[TOP]
Indeed, this is the state of affairs that has created a quagmire for at least two schools, whose staff, teachers and students alike are faced with uncertainty and are beset with confusion.
Recent infighting over the already-taxed educational resources has created bad blood between the two Islamabad Model School for Girls (IMSG) in sectors G-11/1 and G-11/2.
The school in G-11/1 was established a couple of years ago, but without the implementation of its Project Concept VI (PC-4), which deals with the allocation of relevant staff to each institution.
The practice of starting classes in schools without a PC-4 is not new and sources say that around a dozen institutions, both schools and colleges, in the Islamabad area alone did not have a proper provision for staff. These include the IMSGs in sectors I-8, I-14, D-17, CBR Colony, Sohan, Sihala and Humak.
In their rush to start classes at the new school, the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) hastily approved an unprecedented order that called for the temporary transfer of over a dozen teachers from the already-functional IMSG in G-11/2.When they left for their new assignments, many of the teachers convinced their students to also migrate to the new school. Around 300 students, as well as furniture, was shifted from the IMSG in G-11/2 to the new school in G-11/1 in 2014.
This move brought activity at the senior section of the first school to a standstill, prompting administrators to take their pleas to higher authorities.
Tensions over the transfer of manpower and resources from one school to the other soon escalated into a cold war between Principal Raheela Awais of G/11-1 and Rizwana Hassan, her counterpart in G-11/2.
Meanwhile, parents of students affected by these changes also entered into the fray and started a campaign to get a decision in their favour.
People whose daughters were studying in G-11/2 asked the FDE to reverse its order and send the sanctioned teachers back to their originallyassigned school. Some even approached the federal ombudsman with their grievances.
Finally, last week, the PM`s Office took notice of this tug of war between the two schools based on a press report and directed the FDE to take necessary action to rectify the situation. In response, the FDE hurriedly issued a circular withdrawing the earlier notification and asl(ing all teachers to report back to their original duty station with immediate effect.
Unsurprisingly, this document triggered a panic among the administrators and teachers of the IMSG in G-11/1, since it meant that they would lose more than half of their faculty overnight.
`We took the decision to shift the senior section of IMSG G/11-2 to the nearest secondary school on a temporary basis because its PC-4 was not complete,` FDE Director Schools Farida Yasmin told Dawn.`There was no secondary school in the area, which was why FDE approved the construction of a second school in G/11-1,` an officer from the FDE`s planning wing told Dawn. `The double standards are apparent: the planning wing allowed a junior school (G-11/2) to start a senior section, when they already had the approval to establish a secondary school in G-11/1,` another senior FDE official told Dawn on condition of anonymity.
Former Election Commission of Pakistan Secretary Hasan Mohammad is one of the parents whose daughters studying in the new school.
`The new school started functioning with only a small number of students in 2009, without the creation of requisite posts for a secondary school. It started full-fledged classes in 2014 and, is wellestablished with over 550 students on rolls. But now, the FDE is trying to resend its staff back to the old school; this will be an injustice to students and parents alike,` he said.
Following the PM Office`s intervention and the issuance of the subsequent notification by FDE, PML-N MNA Marriyum Aurangzeb visited the school in G-11/2 on Thursday last week to check on the implementation of the notification.
However, some parents from the new school in G-11/1 rushed to apprise her of their side of the story. After speaking to them, the MNA assured them that all temporary staff from the G-11/1 school will not be reversed.
`I`m here to see to the implementation of the notification, but we will only take back three to five teachers,` she told Dawn, adding that the government treated both the schools equally.
`Students from both schools are our students and we will not take any step that will affect their education,` she claimed.