Literacy officials denied six-month salary
HUNDREDS of literacy officers, mobilisers and support staff serving in districts across Punjab are without salaries for the last six months despite performing their duties. The Punjab Literacy and Non-Formal Basic Education Department (L&NFBE) secretary says the demand is ‘unrealistic’ as most of them have been re-employed in late November last year.
District officials have lodged a complaint with the department, explaining that they were engaged in literacy projects that concluded in June last year. They claimed that the department developed a new four-year Punjab Accelerated Literacy Promotion Project (PALPP) and they continued performing their duties that included data collection, monitoring of schools and even holding of different days like Dengue Day and World Literacy Day.
The officials said some of them had also brought non-formal school children to a World Literacy Day function in Lahore.
A district literacy officer, requesting anonymity, claimed that the department continued giving them various assignments and kept telling them that they would remain part of the department when the new project would be approved. However, he said, the department had offered them fresh four-month contract in November and there was no word about their salaries due for five months (July-November) session.
“The four-month contract is also a strange move on the part of the department,” he said.
He claimed that there were over 200 officials serving in districts – seven in each district – and were the lifeline of the literacy department. Now, he said, the department had issued instructions to work tirelessly and open 200 non-formal schools in each district during their four-month tenure.
Another official said he was serving the department during the last financial year and continued afterwards but denied re-appointment in the new project. He claimed that there were many such employees who had been denied their meagre salaries and were compelled to take loans to meet their daily expenses – all in the hope of receiving outstanding dues.
Expressing his anger, a former official said the literacy department kept asking district officials to work but had not given any appointment letter. He also said some of the officials were regularly drawing salaries and enjoying all perks and privileges though there was no project during July-November period.
L&NFBE Secretary Dr Pervaiz Ahmad Khan told Dawn that the department had re-employed the trained staff serving in districts towards end of November. Most re-employed officials in districts had been disbursed their December salaries, while others would receive their salaries soon.
Responding to the literacy department district staff’s demand for payment of their “outstanding salaries”, Dr Khan said all such employees should know that they were making an unrealistic demand because the department could pay staff against some work.
“It is impossible that the department will pay district staff their salaries for five months – from July to November. I had requested the government and the literacy department has retained most trained staff for the new PALPP project from December last year,” he said.
The L&NFBE secretary said the PALPP project was approved in August and it took two months to get allocations and funds released. The project could come on board in November and then the staff was recruited – mostly former employees. However, the secretary could not explain why the former employees were given assignments by the department when they were no more considered employees.
THE Lahore Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education is scheduled to declare the intermediate supplementary examination for 2012 results on Tuesday (tomorrow).—firstname.lastname@example.org