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FBISE HSSC exams | FDE employees problems

HSSC exams rescheduled
Islamabad, April 29: Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (FBISE) has rescheduled the Higher Secondary School Certificate Annual Examinations (HSSC) Part-I and II from May 14 (Tuesday) due to the general elections. app

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The FDE employees woes Families left helpless, as government turns its back
Islamabad: There is a certain allure to civil service teaching jobs: The promise of stability and income, and the hope that relatives will be taken care of if one passes away. However, Dawn's Ikram Junaidi has found a string of cases suggesting that the government-in particular the Federal Directorate of Education-turns its back on those that serve it best, putting their families in distress, and whole futures at risk.

Professor Jamshaid Yousaf Butt worked as an associate professor in English at a college in F10/4. Teaching generation after generation of students, he managed to touch many lives in his period as a government employee. But after more than twenty solid years of work, he died in February of this year, leaving behind a family in need of all the support they could get.

More than a month after his death, Aziz, his college-aged son, is still trying to claim the government benefits that Professor Butt thought he had secured for his loved ones were he to pass away. However, making sure that the government pays out the pension that they have promised is no easy task.

"Every single day I run into a new objection, or a new query. The most recent one, sent on to me by the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE), asks why his succession certificate-the document that confirms the nominee after my father's death-is in Urdu," says Aziz.

Aziz is not alone.

Five months after the death of Professor Mohammad Sufyan, another government employee who dedicated his life to teaching, his wife and three school-aged children are left to fend for themselves. Living in a home with a rent that was supposed to be covered by the FDE (the rent has not been paid for two years), Sufyan's family is still waiting for the pension benefits that should have been sent to them more than six months after his death.

It is not difficult to dig out story after story of government workers' relatives left behind, fending for themselves at a point where they thought that the state would take care of them.

For many, this comes as a surprise. Government jobs within the teaching sector hold a certain promise: The promise of a stable job and income, of housing, and of a secure future for the person who is working as well as his family. Perhaps that is why it seems all the more disconcerting that the government de facto withholds pensions from government employees who have passed away, or more accurately, from their family members.

"Many join the government civil service in the hope that they and their loved ones will be taken care of for good. Instead, their families meet inordinate delays and constant postponements," says one officer who prefers to remain anonymous.

According to the officer, civil servants have to visit several government offices to secure the necessary documentation. "If the government civil servant is alive," the officer says, "he not only loses his job at the age of retirement but also his dignity and self respect". "Instead of spending their time in rest and leisure, they spend it making requests to the clerks for their right to a pension."

Once the government clerk dies, things get worse. According to the law, the family of a deceased government employee is eligible for pension benefits. This law is aimed to protect the spouse and children of the deceased.

"Unfortunately even after several months, families of the deceased do not receive benefits. The children of a deceased employee lack education, good nutrition, and a safe place to live. They survive with harsh social, economic, and environmental hardships. Financial deprivation affects families, lives and needs," says the official.

"The families of deceased employees growing up in poverty are unable to afford basic necessities and their children face health problems. They can't afford social activities. Since families can't afford their children's school fee and uniforms, the children cannot continue their education and, in some cases, get involved in crime," he said.

The financial conditions become even harder when a husband's single income suddenly stops because he passes away. Widows need a sufficient income in the form of pension payments to afford their most basic needs, like food, shelter, and clothing. They often experience a series of hopelessness and misery because the salary is stopped immediately after someone dies.

Teachers recently expressed frustration over the delay of pension payments, particularly to deceased families, and have showed their deep disappointment. A quick action is needed to resolve this issue so that the families of the deceased may see some relief, they say. Instead, say the teachers, government officials tasked with paying out these pensions "look busy, but do nothing".

In a conversation, the president of the Federal Government Colleges Teachers Association Professor Tahir Mahmood, said that there should be a proper procedure for pension cases if someone dies suddenly–and it is crucial that retirement funds are released immediately.

"The officers who supervise clerks are inefficient and they are helpless in the hands of the wicked clerks. They entangle officers and pensioners in a web of procedures and documentations. So getting a pension in time is a herculean task," he said.

According to Mahmood, every government officer has to reach an age of superannuation before dying, or else his family will suffer. So they should make a proper mechanism to assure that pension cases would be settled within days, he added.

An economist Professor Amir Zia said that after the death of a government employee, an account section which works just like a bank starts demanding documents and explanations from family of deceased.

"If banks can maintain accounts of customers, Account Section and Accountant General of Pakistan Revenue (AGPR) should also maintain accounts of employees and should release funds to a 'nominee'-or a family member-without creating any hurdles," he said.

The principal of G-11/1 College, Professor Waqar Ashraf, who has worked as a focal person within the FDE, said that the issue of pensions is a big issue. According to him, there is a need to take immediate steps to assure the release of pensions to retired persons and families of employees who die before reaching to date of superannuation. Ashraf says he has done his best to resolve the issues, but has now turned his attention to addressing the problems of the college he oversees.

The Director General of the FDE, Dr Shahnaz A Riaz, claims she has been trying to resolve all the issues of teacher community, and that she has visited different ministries to finalise cases of teachers.

But if we ask families, little has changed. And those, such as the family of late Professor Qari Mohammad Yousaf or Professor Mohammad Ayaz, the vice principal of a college in F10/4, are left waiting two years before they get paid. Others, like the family of Professor Sibtain Tahira of Margalla College F-7/4, who just died in mid-April, are still waiting for pension cases to start. There is, say many, a long road ahead. Dawn

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500 teachers regularised in February: FDE starts verifying documents
Islamabad: The Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) has started verification of the documents of over 500 daily wage teachers selected for regularisation in February 2013.

The decision to verify the documents was taken after getting complaints that a large number of teachers selected for regularisation had used fake documents, it has been learnt.

A senior bureaucrat in the Ministry of Capital Administration and Development (CAD) requesting not to be identified said the process for the regularisation of the teachers had started after minutes of a meeting of the regularisation committee were released in the third week of March.

"In the meanwhile, the then Secretary CAD Riffat Shaheen Qazi came to know through a correspondence that there were lots of irregularities in the applications of the teachers. Some had attached fake degrees along with their applications to make themselves eligible for the regular posts," he said.The secretary also came to know that because of the alleged involvement of some senior officers of CAD and FDE even such persons were included in the list for regularisation who had never worked in any school. Besides, fake experience certificates were also prepared showing that the daily wage teachers had been working for years, he said.

Giving the example of a school in Zone V, he said in 2012 the services of a teacher were regularised. But the FDE received a complaint that the teacher had showed that two years back he had submitted his joining report to the headmaster. But, interestingly, the headmaster was on leave for six months during that period.

An officer of the FDE said the verification of documents had not only panicked some of the teachers but also the officers in the FDE and CAD who were involved in their appointments.

When contacted, former secretary CAD Riffat Shaheen Qazi confirmed that she had received a correspondence after which she ordered verification of the credentials and other documents of teachers.

"In those days, cases of fake degrees of politicians were being discussed everywhere. Besides, the regularisation committee headed by then minister Syed Khursheed Shah had instructed that regularisation should be done after verification of the documents," she said.

Shahid Khan, the focal person and director administration FDE confirmed that verification of teachers' documents had been started.

"We are also sending experience letters and other documents to educational institutions in which the teachers are working to verify if there was any contradiction in the applications, documents and their joining reports. We have directed the school administrations to inform us about the date the teachers drew their first salary," he said.

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Losers win at SZABIST's sports gala
Islamabad: Those who would pass all academic tests with flying colours suffered defeat during sports-gala organised by Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST), Islamabad campus, at the hands of students who have always been under achievers in the studies.

The three-day event saw the not-so-academically bright students knocking out the brilliant ones in cricket, badminton, volleyball, table tennis, football and snooker competitions.

The sports-gala was purposely structured by SZABIST in such a way that the latent talent of those students could be uncovered who have never been performing good academically. Two teams were constituted (each having thirty students) bringing poor graders against the toppers. Students of both teams belonged to Management Sciences, Social Sciences, Computer Sciences and Media Sciences.

A student of MBA Muhammad Waqas, who is among the winners, said, "I have been failing in different subjects in different semesters because my mind just could not grasp subjects like financial accounting, marketing principles and micro economic, but the victory in this competition has not only boosted my self confidence but also has given my parents something to feel proud of." On this occasion campus head Dr. Bakhtiar Ali said that SZABIST is heartened over the achievements of the poor graders during the sports activities and will further patronize them so they could make it to playing at the national level.

He was of the view that the institution believes that Pakistan needs as many sportsmen as it needs scientists, doctors and engineers. The news

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