By Arsalan Haider
LAHORE: The public school teachers of Punjab have shown mixed reaction over the cancellation of boycott of Class 5th and Class 8th exams being organized by Punjab Examination Commission (PEC) which was started from Thursday.
The teachers were divided in reaction to the cancellation call by United Teachers’ Council (UTC), a representative body of several teacher’s unions, as some teachers hailed the decision as boycotting could create problems for students and their parents, while some other teachers said that this decision of UTC has increased the uncertainty among teachers community.
It is pertinent to mention here that UTC has announced for boycotting of class 5thand 8th examination, census and all academic activities over government’s education policies and not fulfilling of their demands by School Education Department (SED). In this regard the opponent groups of UTC among teachers also announced their full support to UTC in favor of teachers community.
However, a delegation of UTC representatives met Secretary SED on Wednesday. After the meeting, UTC announced cancellation of boycott of PEC examinations and claimed that Secretary has ensured them for fulfilling of their demands, therefore there is no need to boycott the examination.
The sources told this scribe that Secretary has only ensured them of meeting their demands verbally instead of any written assurance. The sources also told that previously when both groups of Punjab Teachers Union (PTU) held massive protests, then the Secretary give them written assurance which has some legal importance but the verbal assurance do not have any legal value or importance.
Sources also informed this scribe that UTC also included several dummy groups run by retired teachers so teachers community did not want to join UTC in boycott which was actual reason cancellation of boycott.
Talking to this scribe a school teacher, Imran was of the view that boycott was not a right way of protest as this could lead to increasing problems for students and parents. He observed that UTC should not have announced the boycott of exams if they were not able to implement the decision. Imran said that a protest instead of boycott was a good option as several teachers like him did not supported UTC just because of boycott.
PTU Sajjad Kazmi Group General Secretary Rana Liaqat Ali it was a call of UTC while other unions were also supporting so UTC should have think before calling the boycott. The act has increased the desperation in the teachers and this act would also create problem for other unions as teacher may not respond in a well manner.
When contacted, spokesman UTC Kashif Shahzad was of the view that the decision of cancellation was taken in general interest of teachers, students and their parents. Besides, the Secretary SED had also assured to fulfill our demands and said that he would include teachers and their representatives in decisions regarding strict action against teachers and establishment of District education authorities, he added. Kashif said that the leadership of UTC did not decided to announce the cancellation all alone but it was announced after proper consultation and suggestions by teachers community.