Skardu: ‘Illegally employed’ teachers to take retest on 18 February

Gilgit, February 5: An investigation committee headed by professor Mir Ahmad Jan had concluded recently that around 464 teachers have illegally been recruited in the Skardu district of Baltistan during the last four years. Many of the employed teachers are believed to be unqualified, underage and not having the relevant experience. A relatively large number of these illegally employed teachers are reportedly women. There are reports that an influential minister of the current government had recruited 4 of his kith and kin in sheer violation of merit.

Based on recommendation of the said committee a decision had been taken by the Chief Secretary, Yunus Dagha, who had ordered a retest for the illegally employed teachers and administrative staff. This decision did not go well with the Chief Minister and some members of his cabinet. They opposed the idea of the retest and vowed to reinstate the teachers who had been asked to take a retest.  The opposition to the chief secretary’s decision was so strong that the Chief Minister said that he will resign if he is unable to reinstate the teachers.

The tussle between the bureaucracy and the politicians, led by the Chief Minister, intensified and as a result the retest date was rescheduled for 18th February.

Many people, including politicians and youth, have been expressing anger and astonishment at the attitude of the GB cabinet who, they think, are trying to protect the illegally employed teachers. There are reports that many of the illegally employed teachers are kith and kin of some members of the Gilgit-Baltistan cabinet. One minister from Skardu had allegedly gotten four of his family members recruited as teachers.

It is pertinent to note that recently two high ranking officials of the Gilgit Education Department were forcibly retired from service after their involvement in cases of taking bribes and recruiting teachers illegally, in violation of merit, came to the fore. Similar allegations have also been labelled against a former secretary of the Education Department, who is believed to be related to the Chief Minister, and a middle man named Kacho Fayaz, who is believed to be a key character behind the brazen violation of merit.

Interestingly, while the decision of whether or not to have the retest is pending, many youth leaders, activists and organizations have started demanding that qualified and educated youth should be allowed to appear in the retest along with the existing candidates.

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