By Shafiq Butt
SAHIWAL: No less than 31 regular teaching and non-teaching staff of the newly-established Islamia Girls High School have not been paid their salaries for the last five months. The total arrears of their salaries come to about Rs0.56 million.
Affected teachers claim that they are in the financial crisis because of improper handling of their school’s denationalization, merger and shifting case by officials of the local Education and Finance departments.
Reports said that Government Girls Mission High School, Sahiwal, under the government of Punjab, provincial secretary, school education department notification No SO (G-III) 5-33/2002 was denationalized on June 12, 2009. The school was given back to the Associated Reformed Presbyterian (ARP) Mission.
The school was nationalized on Oct 1, 1972. At the time of denationalization notification, 25 regular teaching and six non-teaching staff members were serving in Mission Girls High School. Around 800 girl students were enrolled in the school.
Teachers and other staff were given two months period to decide if they wanted to serve the new private ARP mission management or continue their services with the provincial education department.
Their salaries were stopped till the new arrangements while teachers and other staff preferred to continue their regular government services with the provincial education department.
To handle the new situation, the education department devised a unique strategy of “merging and shifting of the girls school” from Mission premises to a new place to accommodate the existing female regular staff and 800 girl students.
The EDO (Education) under letter No 8237, dated Sept 5, 2009, merged and shifted Government Boys Islamia High Schools’ 27 male teachers, seven non-teaching staff and 331 students to two high schools — the Government Batala High School and Government Nagal Ambia High School.
It was also decided that salaries and services of teachers and other staff of Islamia Boys High School would continue in new schools.
Five teachers, three clerks and 111 students of Government Boys Islamia High Schools were shifted to Nagal Ambia while 22 teachers, five clerks and 220 students were shifted to Muslim Batala High School.
A science teacher shifted from Islamia Boys High School to Nagal Ambia School said that “no issue of our salaries arises as the department concerned has shifted our salaries to new schools”.
The problem started when the Islamia Boys High School was converted into Islamia Girls High School and all teachers and girl students of Mission Girls High School were shifted to new premises.
Although teachers and other staff of the girls school were also shifted to new premises, the finance department was not intimated about it which failed to make arrangements regarding their salaries.
Raheela Zafar, the headmistress of Government Girls Islamia High School, confirms that she and her staff have not been paid their salaries for the last five months.
EDO (Education) Naheed Wasif said that salaries of teachers and other staff of the girls school were stopped because of the denationalization issue.
She said that “we have processed the case and female staff will soon get their salaries”.
On other hand all affected female teachers’ claimed their case was mishandled by local education and finance department officials.
EDO (Finance) Habib Jillani said that the matter would be resolved and the withheld salaries would be released shortly.
Punjab SES secretary-general Mushtaq Ahmed Kathia demanded the immediate release of the staff salary.
Sources said the affected school teachers and the staff had also forwarded an application to the Punjab chief minister and provincial secretary (Schools) Aslam Kambo for the immediate release of their five months salary.