Karachi – The Sindh Education Department on Monday negated the media reports that its proposed disciplinary action against the habitual absentees and those evading duties was aimed at extorting money. It said the purpose of such media reports was to make steps taken by the department controversial.
The education department said in a statement that reports telecast on some news channels and also circulating on social media falsely accused the department of preparing the lists of over 18,000 habitual absentees and absconders with the view to extort money.
It is clarified that such news stories are devoid of truth. These stories have been fabricated by unscrupulous people who want to dissuade the department from taking lawful action against the habitual absentees and those evading duties. The Education Department strongly condemns such malicious propaganda, says the statement. The statement further said that the biometric attendance system was IT-based, and was developed on android mobile application which synchronized school level indicators and biometric attendance of teachers with the server of DG (M&E) on real time basis.
The attendance of teachers and staff is automatically recorded on the system, precisely showing the actual date and time of the visit of monitoring assistant. The allegation that teachers have been marked absent on Sundays is not true. Even if a show cause notice has been issued to any teacher/staff member, showing him absent on any Sunday, it can merely be a typographical error, the statement adds.
With regard to the issue of change in the biometric record of teachers/staff on their transfers or postings or removal of the biometric record of retired teachers/staff from the database, the approved and notified Monitoring & Evaluation Policy Guidelines 2017 clearly hold the district education officer (DEO) and the director concerned responsible for that, the statement reads.
The statement further says that therefore, it is the duty of the DEO and the director concerned to get updated biometric record of teachers from the data center. No employee himself/herself is required to visit the data center of School Education & Literacy Department at Sindh Secretariat for change in the biometric record, it adds.
It further clarifies that the aim of establishing the Directorate of Monitoring & Evaluation was to identify those evading duties and habitual absentees with the help of IT-based biometric attendance system. Therefore, on receipt of Monitoring & Evaluation report, it is incumbent upon the department to initiate disciplinary proceedings and provide opportunity to the alleged absconders and habitual absentees to submit their replies and defend themselves, the statement adds.
The competent authorities and officers authorized i.e DEOs and directors are required under the law to initiate disciplinary proceedings and decide the cases in a judicious manner by providing an opportunity to the defendant to submit his/her reply in writing and also of personal hearing. If this accountability process is not initiated, the results will be catastrophic for the education of our children,” the education department says in its statement.
In case of any retired employee, whose show cause notice has been prepared, the competent authority/ officer authorised (DEO/director) is required to first confirm the status of his employment, then decide whether the notice needs to be issued or not. And in case, a show cause notice has been issued in the name of a retired employee, the same will be withdrawn once the actual status of that employee is ascertained, the statement concludes.