EDOs, education staff to be selected at district level

LAHORE:The Punjab governmentís recent move to select Education executive district officers (EDOs) and other such administrative staff at district level through the Search Committee process is a perfect example of wastage of financial resources and inconsistency in policies.
A couple of years ago, the Punjab government had signed a multi-million contract with the Government College University (GCU) Lahore to impart rigorous management skills training to senior schoolteachers and select suitable candidates from among them for their subsequent posting as EDOs, district education officers (DEOs) and deputy DEOs.

The contract signed through the Punjab governmentís School Education Department and the Project Management & Implementation Unit (PMIU) of the Education Sector Reforms Programme (ESRP) in 2007, aimed at developing a pool of trained people in the administrative and financial matter and to select suitable individuals from the same pool for their subsequent posting as top administrators at district level across the province.

However, under a major policy shift now, the selection of top administrators on school side at the district level will be done through the Search Committee process.

As per the new criteria, candidates having maximum marks out of total 100 will be selected for the post of EDOs, DEOs and deputy DEOs through the Search Committee for districts across the province.

It is pertinent to mention that, under new criteria, the training carries only 10 marks and that too not necessarily from GCU Lahore as all those undergone trainings at Directorate of Staff Development (DSD), MPDD or abroad will be given due weightage.

The academic qualification carries 40 marks, administrative experience 10 marks while interview will carry rest of the 40 marks.

Sources privy to the developments said Rs 300 million were paid to the GCU Lahore to conduct the management skills training. Talking to The News a number of officials and teachers, seeking anonymity, said it was strange that huge public money was spent on the training while the same was not being properly acknowledged in the selection.

They criticized the government for abrupt change, saying if the GCU training had no significance it should be stopped at once, instead of wasting more public money as DSD was already involved in imparting training to the schoolteachers.

Hafiz Abdul Nasir, President of Senior Staff Association (SSA) of the Punjab government schools, said it was unfortunate that millions of rupees were spent on the GCU training and now selection was not being made from among those who got the training. According to him, the said amount might have come from some donor agency. The government should fix the responsibility and award exemplary punishment who caused misuse of the funds, he added.

According to the recent notification, a six-member Search Committee will select and recommend EDOs and DEOs for a normal tenure of three years while the Search Committee for the selection of Deputy DEOs would comprise of five members.

The former committee headed by Secretary Regulations (S&GAD) will comprise of Secretary Schools, Member (Social Sector) P&D, DPI Secondary Education, DPI Elementary Education and a representative of Special Branch. The latter committee will be headed by Additional Secretary Schools and DPI Elementary & Secondary and representative of Special Branch beside it may Co-opt EDO of the concerned district if necessary.

The regular schoolteachers of BS-19 will be eligible for the posts of EDOs and DEOs while for the posts of Deputy DEOs the regular teachers of BS-18 will be eligible to apply.

An official from the PMIU, seeking anonymity, said that the teachers were supposed to be trained at the GCU after proper entry test in matters related to administration, finances, IT and preparation of PC-I, etc. However, he added, quality stuff could not join the training programme as, after protests of teachers, the same was made open to everyone.

The official agreed that, unfortunately, the policy could not achieve consistency after change in the government, asking how qualitative training was being conducted by the GCU.

Schools secretary Muhammad Aslam Kamboh said that, as per information he had, no decision was available in writing according to which EDOs, DEOs and Deputy DEOs would be posted only from among those who were trained at the GCU. He said the new process of Search Committee was introduced to end political interference in such appointments.

To a question, the Schools secretary said he could not recall exactly how much money was given to the GCU to conduct the training.The news