Biometric attendance system pushes ghost teachers to seek early retirement

KARACHI:10 november: Following the introduction of biometric verification system to record attendance of teachers, over 20 per cent of them have applied for early retirement, claimed Sindh Education Minister Jam Mehtab Dahar.

He was responding to legislators’ queries during Sindh Assembly’s Thursday session.

Responding to a question by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf lawmaker Seema Zia regarding the biometric verification of teachers, the minister said the system had been introduced in the education department to flush out ghost teachers some time back and had given good results.

Explaining the system, he said monitoring teams, equipped with biometric equipment, visited the schools unannounced all over the province, even in remote areas, and checked the presence of teachers.

Mr Dahar said the system was effective and the government had overcome the problem of teachers’ absence.

The minister added that various steps had been taken like issuance of show-cause notices, warnings, denial of annual increments, delayed promotions and termination of service to discourage the teachers who remain absent.

Despite being asked repeatedly, the minister did not provide the number of teachers sacked.

Responding to a question by Muttahida Qaumi Movement member Heer Soho about the salary structure of the teachers, the minister said primary school teachers belonged to BPS-9 and their salaries started from Rs20,000, junior school teachers were in BPS-14 and their salaries started from Rs25,000; high school teachers were part of BPS-15/6 and their salaries started from Rs30,000 while subject specialists, who were in BPS-17, had salaries which started from Rs42,000.

A written reply to a question said total number of schools for girls in the province was 6,868, out of which 5,654 were functional while the rest were not.

He said there were 28,144 other schools in many of which girls were also enrolled.

The minister, while answering MQM legislator Sumeta Syed about Sindh government schools and Karachi Metropolitan Corporation schools, said total number of schools in the province was 45,447 out of which 593 — 1.3 per cent — were under the KMC as per the annual census of 2016.

Responding to a query by Pakistan Muslim league-F lawmaker Nusrat Abbasi regarding the low enrolment, Mr Dahar said many of the schools located close to each other had been merged under a consolidation policy for better administration.

He said 1,025 headmasters, who had been provided additional training, had also been appointed for such schools and one of the major tasks for these newly-appointed teachers was to increase the enrolment.

About two schools in Dilwaro, Ghotki district, the minister said their buildings had been repaired by the government and they had been handed over to the Sindh Education Foundation (SEF).

“The Sindh government provided funds on per students’ basis — Rs750 for primary level and Rs1,000 for secondary level — to the SEF, which is expected to increase the enrolment,” he added.

A written reply to a question said there was no specific policy for acquiring private or public land for development of schools.
Published in Dawn, November 10th, 2017.