Pakistan: More than 600 female teachers have not been paid for two years in Muzaffargarh

Muzaffargarh: As many as 650 female teachers of the Punjab Literacy Department have been denied their salaries in the past two years. More than 600 female teachers from Basic Education Community Schools (BECS) and National Commission for Human Development (NCHD) schools in the district are facing a financial crisis as they have been denied pay for the past two years, Dawn reported. The teachers in Punjab said they were faced with apathy from the government. They said that they had to work hard to support their families and that they had to deal with travel and other problems.

Azra Bibi said she had to travel more than 2 km for the informal school where she works and had not received a cent for two years. She said she was shopping at a store with the promise of delayed payment and was unable to settle the debt.

She is also struggling to pay her utility bills due to the financial crisis. She said many teachers went to Lahore and Islamabad for a protest last year, but government officials satisfied them with empty promises, Dawn reported.

The teachers said they had to work very hard and convince people to send their children to school. They said that Rs 9,000 salary per month was not enough in times of debilitating inflation and it was a mockery of the profession. Shamim Bibi said she graduated and got permission from her parents to do the job. She said her husband had asked her to quit the job that brought no salary or other benefits.

The government of Punjab had allocated Rs 1,613 billion for such schools in 2021-2022 but the amount has not been used, leaving the teachers high and dry. The teachers claim that Literacy Secretary Wajihuddin Kundi did not help them, Dawn reported. Others claimed that the teachers of non-formal schools in Sindh and KP not only received regular monthly salary, but also got pay raises.

A literacy official said there are more than 7,000 women teaching in these schools in Punjab and the senior officials had approved the payment of salaries to them after checking their attendance; however, the salaries have not yet been credited to them.

A source said the Council of Common Interests (CCI) transferred the federal government-run BECS and NCHD schools to the provincial government in 2020, but the teachers have been experiencing financial difficulties since then, Dawn reported.

The teachers have asked Prime Minister Parvez Elahi to release their salary with a raise and regularize their jobs so that they can carry out their duties with peace of mind. They have also appealed to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to take note of their plight.

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