Several known individuals have been working in different directorates, NCTB, government colleges and secondary schools in the city of Dhaka for a pretty long time, utterly disregarding the government rules and regulations. Some of them have been in the city for more than two decades at a stretch, and even some completed their job without being posted ever outside Dhaka in their entire career. How strange!
Government procedure entails that a government official should work in a particular place for three years and after this period, he/she is subject to transfer. This policy did not touch the officials and teachers of these institutions of Dhaka city. Some of them even got transferred, which also happened in other city institutions, not beyond it.
Dhaka city boasts of having 38 government secondary schools and all the headteachers of these schools have already crossed their three years of service in the same institution. But eleven of them have created records in the city for a pretty long time ranging from 13 to 24 years. Some of them started teaching careers in the city and have become headmasters without going beyond the city. One or two of them might have been transferred but got back to Dhaka within a very short time.
A group of staff and officials of DSHE makes it possible at the cost of exchanging bribes and by other illegal means. The same picture can be seen in NCTB, NAEM and DSHE.
Why is the authority of transfer given to some of these corrupt people? Why have they not been detected yet? How long will it prevail? Why law cannot decide that one government staff or teacher must not be transferred to the same city where they used to work for more than three years. After three years, all concerned must understand that they must be transferred automatically. Nobody’s hands will work here, and no influence will work here.
After working three years in Dhaka, one should not be transferred to Gazipur or Narayangonj. He/she must be transferred to another division or any remote district of the Dhaka division. These kinds of rules are not made nor obeyed even if it is made. Laws are made to keep the scope for corrupt officials to make illegal things happen because of the law loopholes or weak points that deprive the deserving ones and make an imbalance in the entire department.
The headmaster of Mohammadpur Government High School has been in Dhaka city for more than thirteen years in the second slot and in the first slot, he had been here for eight years at a stretch. He worked in DSHE as assistant Director of the secondary wing from 2010 to 2014 when a severe allegation was filed against him while working in the DSHE.
However, he has been paradoxically rewarded by keeping in the city since then. The headmasters who have been in Dhaka for 24 years don’t seem to be satisfied when they say some have been in the city throughout their life without going outside of Dhaka and the authorities should look at them. The mystery behind working in Dhaka city for long is that the headteachers of government high schools enjoy a lot of facilities beyond their usual salary, which usually falls in the sixth grade.
However, many headmasters enjoy the scale in the fifth grade (Tk 43000) because of the length of service. Moreover, they get houses to rent from the city which further adds to their income while some headteachers have beautiful houses on the school campus. Moreover, checking scripts and conducting examinations are other means of their extra income. They rent their school rooms to different offices and organizations on holidays to conduct ‘recruitment test’, which earns them a good amount.
The headmasters of government schools in Dhaka city fully control the school’s different buying types of goods and for buying scientific tools, they get a good amount of money every year from the ministry. In most cases, scientific instruments are not bought every year and even in some schools, instruments are accepted only in name, not in practice. They become the representatives of DG-DSHE for recruiting teachers in adjacent non-government schools. This is another source of income.
Several government schools have ‘feeder branches’. This means these schools have a non-government primary branch in parallel to government primary schools. These feeder schools are the sources of good income that only the headteachers concerned look after. DSHE does not monitor the income and expenditure of these feeder branches. In this way, the headteachers of Dhaka city government schools have legal and illegal income more than five times than those who work outside Dhaka. Thus, they enjoy the capital city facilities and financial facilities that prove quite different from other schools.
What have we made our education profession? The teachers of government or non-government have to involve themselves in politics and it seems that nobody is lagging behind to seize any opportunity even though this professional is believed to be different from all other professionals and creating the future leaders of the country must be the prime objective of this profession and teachers have to dedicate themselves to this noble work proving themselves above all sorts of lust and corruption.
From primary school to the position of vice-chancellors of universities— all seem to be vying for power, pelf and wealth. To become a headmaster, principal of a college, grabbing any position in the directorate or in the ministry –all have to play the game of politics and most of their time is spent in doing it. When and how will they dedicate to the noble activities of preparing the students to lead the nation in the future? The problem and corruption are so severe in the entire department of education that some honest people find it nowhere to go, nothing to do; they just spend time in despair.
And in this way, the problem has accumulated to the height of the Himalayas, so nobody dares to change or replace it in any way. If the culture of developing rules and obeying the rules has been established, nobody would have to play any big deal to gain individual, social, and state facilities illegally. As everybody either supported the illegal affairs or evaded the responsibilities, the ills in this sector have taken the shape of the Himalayas. In a normal state, not even in a welfare state, all people should enjoy the state benefit according to their individual abilities and skills.
It never supports offering maximum benefits of the state to a group of people having either political influence or illegal money transaction ability. Somebody must come up to bury the ills lying in this sector and that must be done to establish a healthy society in the interest of all and it will definitely create a smooth field for all.
All these irregularities kill the balance of the education sector. Many teachers want to come to Dhaka who finds it difficult to do that. Those who have been serving in Dhaka for a long must want their sons or daughters to work here. If they do a government job, they will have to be away from Dhaka initially. But due to this imbalance, they will not be able to come to Dhaka; how will they feel then?
So, it is not necessary to make more and more schools and colleges in Dhaka city and divisional cities. And those who want to keep in Dhaka year after year or throughout their lives should not do government jobs. They can choose the non-government job—another imbalance we notice in terms of the tuition fee in government schools and colleges. In government schools and colleges, tuition fees must be almost equal to non-government initiations in towns and cities but it will be absolutely free for the village schools and colleges or a small amount of fee.
A very selective number of officials/teachers enjoy all sorts of government facilities living in the city of Dhaka year after year, that might be, because of their having powerful relatives, political attachment, or illegal transaction of money. This is why more and more non-governmental educational institutions should be in the capital city and divisional cities. Doing government jobs people should not be allowed to live in Dhaka year after year or throughout their life, depriving many.
The non-governmental educational institutions must be run according to pure rules and regulations of the state and the job security of the teachers must be ensured by the state without looking at them with a squint eye because of being non-government. Teachers cannot dedicate themselves to their profession fully when they have to think of their monetary affairs. The state must also look after the financial management of non-government educational institutions.
The Director of the secondary wing of DSHE talks about the irregularities; thus, ‘we have already submitted the list of teachers who have been in Dhaka city for long along with the vacant positions. The ministry will take its own decision.’ My question here is ‘should everything be done by the ministry?’
Then what are the responsibilities of DSHE? He also says that we will take action if any serious irregularity is detected. Just a perfunctory remark! He, of course, does not have anything more to do or say as his posting in the DSHE might not be regular or usual. Moreover, he is from a college. My experience says many directors don’t have transparent ideas about the total administration and other related affairs of secondary education. It’s difficult to understand this long and old tangle of problems lying in this sector.
The way government teachers come to DSHE does not allow them or encourage them to go deep into the problem of this sector. We have already crossed fifty years of our achieving independence, still, not a single problem of this sector has been resolved smartly. How long will it continue?