The School Education Department seem to be getting weakened at the zonal level of its administration in Poonch district due to the vacant posts of Zonal Education Officers (ZEOs) with five posts out of 11 lying vacant.
Poonch district is not only a hilly district but is regarded as one of the toughest in terms of varied topography with around 100 km Line of Control, far-flung hilly areas and snow-clad mountains.
For better administrative control, the School Education Department in the district has been divided into 11 zones with a ZEO heading the zone.
However, in the district, official sources said, delay in filling of vacant ZEO posts is taking a toll on the system with five out of 11 posts of ZEOs lying vacant.
“Five posts of ZEOs are lying vacant which include ZEO Sathra, Bufliyaz, Balakote, Mendhar and Mankote,” the sources said.
They said that permanent ZEOs were heading six other zones in the district that include Harni, Mandi, Kunaiyan, Poonch, Nangali and Surankote.
The official sources said that a few ZEO posts were vacant for more than a year with no officer posted on these posts.
They said that in all the zones where posts of ZEOs were lying vacant, the senior most principal in the zone was holding additional charge of the zonal officer post.
“Additional charge syndrome is prevailing here also with the principals of five higher secondary schools having additional responsibility of the zonal officer chair,” they said.
A teacher from Poonch’s Balakote zone said that the absence of an officer from a chair always affects the work culture and efficiency and that it was true in the School Education Department as well.
He said that the teachers had to wait for getting their works done. “The matter has been taken up with the higher authorities. We are hopeful about the posting of officers in the near future,” the Education department’s district office said in an official statement.