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Teacher recruitment beset by controversies

Karachi, Aug 6: Despite the fact that the ban on recruitment has not officially been lifted, tests for vacant posts of 9,100 primary school teachers all over Sindh concluded in the city, with about 13,000 candidates out of 16,000 registered, both male and female.

The entire process right from conducting exams, to preparing the question paper, selecting venues and making arrangements for the candidates was entirely computerised and handed over to Pakistan Cadet College and IBA Sukkur. The contract given to these institutions was aimed at absolute transparency in the announcement of results. Apparently, the entire process was logical. The sole purpose of handing over the process to these two institutions is to ensure that there is no space left for objections and criticism from any quarter.

Thus, it can be said that the examinations that were held after a lapse of 15 years with a total of 126,000 candidates across the province went reasonably well. A complete security system, including rangers and law-enforcement agencies, monitored the entire situation. Tests were held within a span of one month, after the powers of the incumbent Provincial Education Minister, Hamida Khuhro were reduced to College affairs by the Chief Minister Sindh, who now holds the portfolio of Education Minister for schools.

In addition to the charges of corruption leveled against Khuhro, another contentious issue between these two was that of the appointment of teachers. A 'power-sharing formula' was agreed upon by the Chief Executive of Sindh and his allied partners in accordance with the universally approved formula of a 60:40 ratio.

The written tests for teachers were held earlier with candidates paying Rs100 to get them registered and Rs150 to banks as pay orders. These payments were non-refundable. The Chief Minister Sindh declared these tests null based on the conviction that the department unearthed a scam involving billions of rupees. The poor candidates were astonished by the unexpected misuse of their hard-earned money.

It was reported that around 70,000 candidates appeared in the exams and a total of Rs70 million was deposited in the government's bank account. The mystery surrounding this money remains unresolved as no body wants to claim responsibility for what happened. Instead, people have resorted to the easiest course of action; blaming one another.

The written tests conducted last Monday were an exercise in futility, as the appointments had already been made as per the 'power sharing formula'.

The entire exercise was conducted just to show international donors, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, that tests had been held. However, nothing could be proved as the entire procedure was computerised one. The names of successful candidates will be displayed on August 12, as announced by the Chief Minister himself. Only then will the truth be known.

In contrast to the process in Sindh, in other provinces regular appointments were made through public service commissions.

Whereas in our province, the last competitive exams of the Sindh Public Service Commission were held in 2002, the results of which too were cancelled by the Chief Minster. The absence of the commission created problems in all sectors by way of a domino effect. These problems need to be checked by the authorities concerned. The news
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