Wedlock policy: teachers may get limitless stay

ISLAMABAD: March 22: The six-month-long struggle of the much disturbed teachers working on deputation in Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) schools and colleges in Islamabad under the wedlock policy is almost ready to bear fruit. According to a summary prepared by the Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD), the government is considering to appropriately amend relevant laws to absorb the female teachers in their current position for limitless period. At present, the teachers can be repatriated to their parent organisation after five years of service. The summary has made its way to the Prime Minister’s office for approval. Over a 100 teachers working at Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) schools on deputation under wedlock policy have served the maximum allowed period of five years and some even exceeding ten years. “A teacher on deputation can stay for a maximum of five years, after which they have to be repatriated. The matter was taken to court which dismissed the cases of 65 teachers and asked the FDE to send out repatriation orders as per rules. But the teachers went to intra court appeal against this decision and this time the court ordered FDE to maintain the status quo putting the whole process on hold until a final decision could be made,” explained DG FDE, Atif Kayani. In the meanwhile, the affected teachers groups contacted Secretary CADD through various sources and convinced him to look into the matter of deputation and reconsider the matter of repatriation considering the fact that these teachers have been living in the capital for several years now and cannot simply drop their families and lives to return to parent departments. “The summary has certainly reached the Prime Minister’s table,” informed Rafique Tahir, Spokesman CADD when asked about the latest development and expressed the hope that it will be approved by the Prime Minister barring any technical points that might arise. When asked why CADD has changed its stance from its initial insistence on repatriating teachers on deputation, Mr Tahir explained: “It is not that we have changed our minds, we sent repatriation orders in line with the court’s decision, but over 170 families are getting affected and when we were requested to reconsider from the highest authorities, we had a second look and sent our recommendations to Law and Establishment Division.” “The rationale of Wedlock Policy is to facilitate posting of husbands and wives at one station for obvious reasons,” said the summary sent to the Prime Minister. It added, “In the present situation more than 90 per cent teachers working on deputation have been borrowed in FDE under wedlock policy. All of these are skilled, qualified and experienced,” and suggested that “existing wedlock policy may be reviewed by providing clear provisions that the normal 5 years period of deputation will not be applicable in cases where an incumbent is borrowed under wedlock policy.” Even though this is a positive development for the teachers who have had their livelihoods under constant threat for the last six months, there are over 30 who have simply not received any salaries for the last three months. These are the ones for whom repatriation orders were given and their salaries stopped event though they continued teaching. “Our salaries have stopped and we are desperate, we have even had to sell off our jewelry to pay our children’s fee. Some of the teachers not getting salaries are widows and don’t have any other sources of livelihood,” explained one teacher. Even though a letter was issued from CADD to the FDE to resume salaries of the incumbents till the arrival of a final decision, the salaries have not been paid to the affected teachers. “I simply cannot afford to leave, this means that we have to choose between our marriage and our jobs. We make a special request to the prime minister to absorb us here,” said Saba, a teacher on deputation at Model School, Malpur.Dawn.