Punjab Higher Education Department (HED) has withdrawn its previous restrictions on leaves of college teachers and a letter has been issued directing principles to ensure implementation of the restructured leave policy in line with government rules.
In a letter issued by the HED, directors of education (colleges), deputy directors (colleges) and all principles of colleges across the province have been directed to ensure that all staff members, including teaching and non-teaching staff, adhere to the policy. The letter instructs principals of all public colleges in Punjab to ensure strict implementation of the policy that allows 25 casual leaves per year, according to the law for government employees.
The letter states, “Under the direction of the competent authority, all principle are hereby directed to ensure that only 25 casual leaves annually are allowed to government servants. Therefore, only two casual leaves per month may be allowed to all teaching and non-teaching staff of colleges.”
Earlier in 2017, the college teaching community, represented by the Punjab Professors and Lecturers Association (PPLA), staged protests against the HED over an instruction that barred them from using their casual leaves.
The orders that irked teachers stated that teachers were banned from casual leaves “except only in case of death of a near relative”. The same letter asked principals and teaching staff to be punctual and to maintain all records regularly. The letter warned that in case of negligence, the officials would be held accountable. According to that letter of the HED, all colleges were directed to maintain attendance registers of every class and the same must be produced to inspection teams.
The directives had resulted in widespread criticism of the policy from academic and non academic circles, who questioned the wisdom behind such an order. The withdrawal of the ban has only come after several protests by college teachers and numerous rounds of negotiations.