Power, rule or authority may appear very impressive and attractive but it is not easy to shoulder the responsibility which comes with it. Achieving positions and designations is considered lucky by many but to act according to their status and decorum is not easy. The bigger you are the more responsible you have to be!

Comprehension and sense of ruling is very important to rule. A saying of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) goes as: “A man seeks knowledge from cradle to grave”. Learning is a never-ending process. Certainly for this the chairman of Punjab Education Commission, Dr Nizamud Din, felt the need to train principals of the colleges. For this, a five-day series of workshops, conferences, one to one question answer sessions, and informative lectures was recently held.

This endeavour of the Punjab Higher Education Commission was commendable not only for improving the administrative performance and understanding of the financial matters. Dr Mubashar Nadim, Muhammad Luqman, Dr Shahid Sarwar, Dr Saeed Shafqat, Sohail Ahmed, and Amjad Saleemi: all played role in making this training course a success.

Dr NizamUddin was present throughout the course. In the last session he himself was the resource person and took the comments and suggestions of the principals.

The Education department has seen improvement since Higher Education Secretary Irfan Ali has taken the charge. The department has become more established not only in the academic and management but the budget and planning sectors too. In his team, Silwat Saeed, Tahir Yousaf, Khalid Bashir, Ashfaq Bokhari, Nauman Jamil, Tariq Hamid Bhatti, DPI Colleges Prof Khalid Javed, and Director Colleges Lahore division Rana Nasim Akhter are doing a good job.

Proper Initiation of the curricular and co-curricular activities in colleges, Chief Minister’s Programme, Dengue and Anti Narcotic walk, attendance and presence in duty hours of the teachers are only a few of the steps to name.

In the first stage of the administrative and financial affairs and training of 700 principals across Punjab, the first lot of 250 principals’ training was held this month. The training session was held at three different centres which included the University of Health Sciences, Veterinary and Animal University, and The University of Education, Township.

My centre was at the University of Health Sciences, where cleanliness, refreshments, conference hall and multimedia and sound system was commendable. UHS Vice Chancellor Aslam Khan also visited the conference hall and supervised the administration and execution of the training. The pro VC, Dr Junaid Khan also participated in the training session.

The training course was professionally designed to get the maximum output on training the principals to solve their administrative and financial issues: Governance, Management, Information Right, Public Financial management, Financial laws, Cashbook handling, Accounts issues, DDO Powers, Responsibilities of Principals and DDOs, Accountability, Budget, Budget Rules, PPRA, PEDA, Audit Paras, Audit Rules and Inspection.

Certainly, these are the problems and issues which, the principals, have been trying to solve and deal with according to their own skills and understanding. But the training course has supplied to the prior raw knowledge with the practical theory. The audits are no more a threat because many ways out of the Audit Para has been introduced in the said training course. The principals used to be dependent on the clerical staff for dealing many issues in accounts because they themselves were not trained how to deal with them.

Dr Junaid Sarfraz Khan, Amjad Saleemi, Arshad bin Ahmed, Dr Ijaz Butt, and Rao M Tahir were our resource persons. With the support and coordination of Dr Aslam Khan (VC UHS), Dr Talat Pasha (VC UVAS), Dr Rauf Azam (VC University of Education), the training course on such a large scale was well managed.

The course not only trained the candidates on administrative and financial issues but it also was perhaps the first ever instance and opportunity for principals of the degree colleges to interact with one another.

For the first time in the history of education department, through this training course, it has been made sure to train the principals not only in the administrative and financial circles but also their problems and issues has been brought to the limelight, and they are presented with some really good practical solutions to be used in future during their professional careers.

Some requests and suggestions given by participants of training are as follows:

•             Such trainings to train principals on administrative and financial issues should continue to be held in future too.

•             The Education department’s focus on co and extra-curricular activities has already played a part in inculcating leadership in the new generation. However, establishment of Students’ Career Counseling should also take place in the colleges.

•             Islamic teaching tutorials should be regulated to hold in colleges to guide our students through these tough times of terrorism and extremism.

•             The principals should be given complete administrative and financial independence in the best interest of the institute.

•             Officers Category-I status should be given to the Principals to deal with the financial issues.

•             In acknowledgement of the huge responsibilities of the principals the charge allowance must be increased up to 20,000 and the refreshment fund should be allotted to treat the official guests.

•             The principals of Grade 19 and 20 should be provided with Govt. transport and drivers so that they can make best use of their capabilities and never face the transport issues. The principals of the remote area colleges should be a priority in this regard.

•             Hard area allowance should be at least 30,000 so that an incentive could be given to the highly educated and qualified people to work in the remote areas.

•             Authority of recruitment, transfer, suspension and job termination of the Grade 1 to 11 i.e. class 4 employees, should be placed directly into the hands of the principals.

•             Promotion and transfer of the principals must not be subjected to the college results only because each college works under its regional provisions and influences.

•             No teaching staff should be transferred without prior knowledge and approval of the principal. Moreover for administrative purposes the principals’ recommendation should have more weightage.

•             All institutes with vacant seats of principals should be provided with one. And the people with DDO powers in such institutes must be given the charge allowance till the appointment of the principal there.

•             The HEC should award principals with scholarships for refresher courses and a monitoring team should be established to examine and evaluate their performance. Principals with outstanding performance should be awarded certificates and awards by the education department.

•             Other than the administrative and financial training the Principals should be trained in computers too.

The feeling is in the air that the high ups and the officials are concerned about the technical skills and sense of responsibility which will pave way to a positive change in education sector.