LAHORE - The Punjab Education Department (PED) has paid a deaf ear to the plight of second-shift teachers of government colleges in the province. The remuneration of Rs 300 per lecture, for the teachers from within the respective colleges and outside, was fixed some eight years back in 2001. It needs revision and must be at least Rs 600 per lecture, as the inflation and prices of the essentials have increased manifold. There should be separate rules and procedures of administration for the second-shift like attendance and leave etc. The lecturers of second-shift should also be given retaining allowances during summer vacations, as they get wages only during the academic session of hardly six months for the lectures they deliver. Paradoxically, however, as the admission to first year Arts and Science session 2009-10 has begun, a prejudiced lobby has become active to undo second-shift programmes in government colleges in Punjab. They have started arguing with education department officials and senior academicians of colleges to create controversy on the second-shift. They are propagating that second-shift has been creating problems for the teachers and colleges administrations, which is wholly untrue. The fact is that the second-shift has increased enrolment in higher education. According to an estimate, some 50,000 matriculates, who usually fail to get admission to morning classes due to high merit every year, are accommodated in the second-shift. It is successfully running parallel to the first-shift. The admissions in the second-shift are made on nominal fees i.e., Rs 3,600 - in Intermediate disciplines, and Rs 7,000 - in B-Com, BSc or BA etc, which mean Rs 10 per day for Inter and Rs 20 per day for graduate classes. The second-shift fee for MA, MSc is also very competitive as compared to afternoon or evening programmes of the Punjab University (PU), other public sector varsities or autonomous colleges while the tuition fee for such programmes in private sector colleges and varsities is five times higher. Thus, a useful practice is being vitiated by vested interest obviously from the private sector, which is hard hit since the second-shift was introduced. The second-shift has not only helped thousands of parents to get their children admitted to the colleges at affordable tuition fee, but also provided an opportunity to teachers to teach at the same college after mid-day and earn some financial benefits. After the first-shift, teachers prefer to stay in colleges for the second-shift, thus, absenteeism of teachers has decreased and quality of education in morning-shift has also increased. The idea of second-shift was conceived to utilise college buildings in afternoon as well as to provide an opportunity of admission to the applicants with low merit who otherwise could not compete in the morning-shift. The quality of education and facilities are equivalent in the first and second shifts while the second-shift starts around 12 at noon, when the first-shift is over. It also provides job opportunity to thousands of young varsity graduates to teach in the second-shift on per lecture basis. The government too is earning tuition fee revenue, which can be diverted to provide missing facilities to colleges and expand the infrastructure to accommodate more children in the government colleges at affordable tuition fee.