In compliance with the instructions of Fata Civil Secretariat, the agency education office has completed the process of verification of all employees of government schools in Khyber Agency.
However, women employees have objected to the procedure of verification and residents of the tribal agency are sceptical about the results of the exercise.
According to the directives issued by Fata Civil Secretariat a week ago, all the government employees working in various departments in tribal areas were required to appear before the officials concerned for verification.
The directives were issued on the complaints of people about absenteeism of employees of different departments. It was alleged that a good number of government employees, especially in health and education departments, had got lucrative jobs in gulf countries while many had ‘leased out’ their official jobs to either their relatives or other people on half of the monthly salary.
The agency education office and political administration in Khyber Agency asked all the male and female employees of schools to appear before the officials concerned at their offices in Jamrud.
The women employees in Landi Kotal were asked to leave their official duty and travel to Jamrud from far-off localities like Sheen Pokh and Prrang Darra in Loe Shalman and Kharghali near the Afghan border.
Sources in the AEO office said that some women teachers were seen carrying their infant babies and waiting for hours at the venue of verification where arrangements for women staffers were also insufficient.
Ali Ahmed of Prrang Darra told Dawn that he had to spend Rs6,000 to take female members of his family for verification to Jamrud. Two women members of his family, he said, were working as Class-IV employees at a primary school for girls adjacent to his house.
Amroz Khan of Sheen Pokh area in Loe Shalman said that his request for verification in Landi Kotal was denied by the officials concerned. He said that he spent Rs5,500 to take female staff of the girls school in his village for verification.
Assistant Agency Education Officer (Female) Waheeda, when contacted, said that she too was not in favour of asking the female staff to appear in person at the Jamrud office. She said that although a number of the absentee teachers were either dismissed from their jobs or issued show cause notices in near past, the ongoing process of verification would not help in achieving the desired results.
Ms Waheeda said that instead of that exercise, spot verification would have positive results as it would prove as to whether a certain teacher was attending to his or her duty or not.
It was interesting to know that Ms Waheeda was not even aware about the actual strength of female staff at the government schools in Jamrud and Landi Kotal.
Despite closure of more than 80 per cent of government schools in Bara subdivision, the entire staff, both male and female, at these schools was verified.
Agency Education Officer Ateequr Rehman also expressed his displeasure over the ‘flawed’ procedure of verification and said that his advice was not sought when the said procedure was devised. “It was a mistake and I opposed it when I came back from my visit to Tirah,” he said.
Haji Hukam Jan, a local elder, said that the authorities carried out the exercise in a haste and the female staff was made to suffer both physically and financially by asking them to travel to Jamrud from far-off localities.
He said that physical appearance at the AEO office would not expose those, who were habitual absentees as they were still not performing their duties regularly. They took a day off from their alternate occupations to appear before the officials concerned and obtain a ‘bogus’ clearance certificate.