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4 January, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Saga of non-MPO teachers

Education ministry ‘starts’ process to bring 75,000 under MPO
Harun Ur Rashid
Saga of non-MPO teachers

The hunger strike by the teachers of non-governmental educational institutes has prompted the government to seriously consider their demand to be included in the monthly payment order (MPO) scheme. The ministry has already sent a draft policy to the finance ministry to take the next course of action regarding the inclusion of these institutes under the MPO system.

Experts said the wholesale inclusion of non-governmental educational institutes without proper scrutiny of their teachers, results, and infrastructure will affect the quality of education. Plus, it will be an additional burden on the state exchequer.

However, education ministry sources said strict measures will be taken before the educational institutes are offered the MPO facility. The strength of the institutes will be properly scrutinised.

The provisions of the MPO policy 2013 requires the institutes to fulfil different criteria before they can enjoy the facility.

Besides, Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education (DSHE) sources said that when the authorities of non-government institutes apply for permission to start operating, they give an undertaking that they will not ask for any financial help from the government.

Though the exact number of non-governmental teachers and employees is not known, around 75,000 teachers and employees of 5,242 non-government educational institutes are estimated to be out of MPO facilities.

“The government has started working on the issue of bringing non-governmental teachers under the MPO scheme. A draft policy has already been sent to the Ministry of Finance for the next course of action,” Salma Jahan, joint secretary of the Secondary and Higher Education Division of the education ministry, told The Independent yesterday.

“As the education minister has got a nod from the finance ministry to move ahead, we are working on the process. But it will take time. The teachers have to understand that,” she added.

Jabed Ahmed, additional secretary (non-government secondary) of the Secondary and Higher Education Division, said, “It was difficult to get the consent of the finance ministry. The education minister has got it and he has told us to work on the issue. We have already started working on it.”

Ministry sources said the non-governmental educational institutes will be properly scrutinized before being offered MPO facilities because many of these don’t have the reputation of employing quality teachers and producing good results in exams.

According to the MPO Policy 2013 (amended), 11 types of non-governmental educational institutes can enjoy MPO facilities under certain conditions. These institutes are junior school, secondary school, higher secondary school, higher secondary college, honours (pass) college, dakhil madrasa, alim madrasa, fazil madrasa, kamil madrasa, and technical and vocational educational institutes.

The conditions that are essential for the non-governmental institutes to get MPO facilities are availability, recognition, manpower, desired number of students, desired results, and management committee or governing body, the policy says.

But the policy also says that even if the educational institute fulfils all the conditions, it is not mandatory for the government to include it in the MPO scheme. The decision will depend on the financial ability of the government.

The policy further says that the candidates must have degree certificates in their respective subject or an index number of the government or a registration certificate from the Non-Government Teachers’ Registration Certification Authority (NTRCA) to be teachers.

The MPO policy for non-government teachers was formulated in 1995. It was amended in 2010 and 2013.

According to the education management information system under the DSHE and the education ministry, 26,915 educational institutes enjoy MPO facilities right now in the secondary, higher secondary, and higher education levels, and the madrasas and technical institutes, which employ over 4.93 lakh teachers and other staff and Tk 1,300 crore is spent annually in their salaries and allowances.

There are 23,000 teachers and 7,500 employees in 3,200 junior schools, and 167,000 teachers and 43,000 employees in 13,000 secondary schools. The 380 intermediate colleges employ 29,300 teachers and 9,400 employees, while 36,300 teachers and 12,100 workers are employed in the 980 degree colleges.

Also, 74,000 teachers and 16,000 employees work in the 5,400 dakhil madrasas, while 21,000 teachers and 3,500 employees work in the 1,100 alim madrasas. The 980 fazil madrasas employ 22,000 teachers and 5,800 employees, while 4,000 teachers and 1,200 employees are employed in the 145 kamil madrasas.

Besides, 18,061 teachers and employees work in the 1,730 technical educational institutes, which enjoy the MPO facilities now.

“When entrepreneurs apply for permission to open an institute, they give an undertaking that they will run it with their own money. But the government is liberal and is working for them,” Prof. Mohammad Shamsul Huda, director (college and administration) of DSHE, told The Independent.

“We know that around 98 per cent of educational institutes are non-governmental. But our experience says that many of these do not have proper infrastructure and quality teachers. Some even have more teachers than students, while some follow no discipline in maintaining classes. This cannot ensure quality education,” he added.

“When the non-governmental institutes ask for financial support from the government, it is an additional burden on the state. However, the government is committed to doing something for these teachers. But, at the same time, the teachers have to give their services,” he added.

Sources said many non-governmental educational institutes are set up under the pressure of influential quarters or political consideration, but ultimately, it puts pressure on the state exchequer.

Rasheda K Chowdhury, the executive director of the Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE), and former adviser to the caretaker government, said, “The government should follow a process. The MPO should only be given considering the qualification of the teachers and the infrastructure of the institutes.”

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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