Many government schoolteachers in Punjab got a surprise on Wednesday afternoon when they started receiving messages via social media that a new transfer policy has been put in place. Along with the messages, a detailed policy document was also circulated and shared among teachers.

But as it turned out, the policy was genuine, but not for school in teachers in Punjab that lies this side of the border. The document circulated along with the messages was a circular by the Department of School Education, Government of Punjab, India. In their apparent excitement, many who passed on the message did not notice the details or the difference in language and other discrepancies.

The reason for this excited state of government schoolteachers was owing to their longstanding demand for lifting the ban on transfers, as well as the promises and partial implementation of those promises by Punjab School Education Minister Dr Murad Raas.

Around 50,000 application for intra-district transfers and another 7,000 applications for inter-district transfers are pending with the School Education Department (SED) for several months. In March 2018, the ban was lifted two years after it was imposed in 2016 and the SED asked teachers to submit their applications for transfers between April 1 and May 31. However, the entire process was put on the backburner due to the General Elections 2018, in which teachers were assigned several duties. The SED had issued a notification regarding the halting of the process altogether.

But ever since the new government took charge of office, the teachers again raising a voice for the lifting of ban on transfers. School Education Minister Murad Raas became cognizant of the demand right at the onset of his tenure and promised that the pending transfer cases would be processed at the earliest.

The minster had to again reiterate his department’s commitment towards attending t the transfer issues after teachers started getting impatient about the delay in the implementation of the promise

However, the department neither lift the ban, nor it did provide a timeline for resuming the transfers. Once again, Dr Raas stepped in to calm the nerves and announced that the government would reveal a policy soon.

The confusion vis-à-vis the new transfer policy among teachers was also due to the fact that the minister announced that the policy was being amended and he had started reviewing the old policy in place.

On September 19, the SED issued a notification regarding the partial lifting of the ban on transfers of schoolteachers. Transfers were allowed for divorced, widowed and disabled teachers, as well as mutual transfers under the Transfer Policy 2013.

In his latest announcement on September 25, the minister finally revealed a date of the complete lifting of the ban and the reason for the dealy. However, he did make it clear that no new applications would be considered and only pending requests would be catered to.

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