The education system of Pakistan in terms of quality teaching and learning stands in the lowest rank among countries. The country is one of eight countries worldwide that spend less than 2% of GDP on education. Today, around 25 million children in Pakistan do not reach their constitutional right to have education up to the age of 16.
The teaching profession in Pakistan is considered the most underpaid and less attractive profession as compared to other professions like civil services, medical or engineering, etc.
Teachers being the most finically unwell do not enjoy a great social status in society.
Pakistan Teachers Federation recently conducted a research study on “Status and problems of teachers” and concluded that 85% of the teachers are directly linked with the right of trade unionism. They do not have the right to join and form unions. The federation is continuously arranging meetings with the provincial and federal legislative members to make amendments to Industrial Relation Act to grant the right of unionism to all government and private teachers working in schools, colleges, and universities.
Briefing sessions on “Awareness of Service rights”:
The majority of the teachers are not aware of their service rights such as the importance of appointment letters, probationary period, coverage under social security and old age pension, leave and encashment of leave, Group Insurance, Provident Fund, legal procedure for termination of service, etc. The federation initially started online briefing sessions on the above topics and now arranging plant-level sessions on important issues.
Publication of News Letter:
The federation has started publishing monthly News Letter covering every activity of the teachers. The News Letter is presently only for the members.
Demand for Separate Minimum Wage Law for Teachers:
Presently the Minimum Wages law for unskilled workers also applies to teachers. The Federation is actively working for a Separate Minimum Wage law for the teacher. The draft proposal Act is drafted by the federation and provided to federal and provincial governments. The government has since long been freezed the House rent allowance of the college lecturers. The private sector is giving much fewer wages as compared to the unskilled worker of factories.
In service teacher training:
In-service teacher training enhances the performance of a teacher. A teacher feels enriched with new additions of ideas, concepts, and activates. Unfortunately, no private or government institution is providing such training to teachers. The federation is actively working on this issue to establish a national training institute. We move a request to the government to allot land on payment basis to the federation to construct buildings. This training will enhance the knowledge and skills of teachers.
Reinstatement cases of teachers:
The private sector educational institutions have illegally terminated the services of teachers during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The number of terminated teachers is in the thousands. The federation has succeeded in reinstating the teacher through the court with all back benefits.
Free legal assistance services for members:
The federation is providing free legal assistance service to its members.
The service is available round the clock.
The working of teachers’ unions at school, college, or university is altogether different from factory workers’ unions. We have formed Associations in the Government educational institutions as unionism is not permitted. The federation always raised its demands in legal and peaceful manners. The working of private sector educational institutions is difficult as they terminate the services of active teachers taking part in union activities.
Unionism in the educational sector is sensitive and technical issue. FISE may increase close interaction with affiliated unions and establish a consultation wing through selecting persons from affiliated unions to provide advice and consultation to the needy unions and their leadership.
AHMED RAZA SHAHID