1,156 teachers to lose jobs and return salaries

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Snigdha Rani Das is a teacher of non-government Bishwanath High School and College at Chhatiain in Habiganj’s Madhabpur upazila. She came under the government's MPO (monthly payment order) facility in 2012 and has been receiving her salary from the government since then.

But the NTRCA certificate she had submitted during her appointment has been found fake in a recent audit.

The Department of Inspection and Audit (DIA) conducted the audit and uncovered the fraud by cross-checking the document with the issuing authorities, the non-government teachers’ registration and certification authority (NTRCA). The DIA found that the actual certificate was issued to a certain Delwar Hossain Chowdhury and later Snigdha Rani faked it using the serial number.

The authorities concluded that her appointment was illegal and she will have to return all the salary she received till the date. The total amount she received until February 2019 when the audit was carried out has been calculated at a little more than Tk 1,000,000.

The DIA audited the college nearly three years back, but submitted the audit report along with its recommendation in January this year.

This is not the lone case of certificate forgery. The DIA found a total 1,156 similar cases at the non-government educational institutions across the country and recommended that the authorities remove the concerned teachers and take their total salaries back.

However, the total amount recommended to be taken back could not be ascertained. As per information obtained by Prothom Alo, the DIA recommended to take back Tk 150 million that was paid to teachers with fake certificates in Khulna and Barishal divisions.

The DIA, under the ministry of education, audits educational institutions and makes necessary recommendations in order to improve quality of education and maintain financial transparency. DIA director Professor Oliullah Md Azmatgir said his office submits audit report and the education ministry takes further step.

At one time the managing committee of a non-government educational institution used to have the sole authority of teacher recruitment. But things have changed and the teachers are now recruited centrally through the NTRCA. There is no scope for recruiting teachers without NTRCA certificate.

The DIA report found that 793 of the 1,156 teachers had provided fake NTRCA certificates while 296 others provided false computer skill certificates and 67 fake BEd, secretarial and other certificates.

Some 443 cases of certificate forgery were reported from Rajshahi and Rangpur divisions while 366 from Dhaka and Mymensingh, 251 from Khulna and Barishal, and 96 from Chattogram and Sylhet divisions.

The DIA report stated a certificate forgery case at Nischintapur high school of Matlab upazila in Chandpur. An assistant teacher, Abu Sufiyan, joined the school using fake certificate in November, 2012.

When asked for information from the NTRCA on Abu Sufiyan, the DIA was informed that his certificate is false and forged. Later, a recommendation was made to take back Tk 1.1 million (Tk 11 lakh) that Abu Sufiyan was paid until 2019. If he receives salaries in the following months, that too will have to be refunded.

Asked about actions against Snigdha Rani Das, the acting principal of Chhatian Bishwanath High School and College, Harunur Rashid, told Prothom Alo on Friday that she does not attend office and classes and no longer can draw her salary.

A letter was issued to the education ministry asking its specific views on taking the salaries back, he said, adding that further steps will be taken after getting the ministry’s instruction.

After recruitment, the directorate of secondary and higher education (DSHE) ensures the MPO facility to a teacher. Such incidents of certificate forgery can easily be prevented if the credentials are verified properly in the enlisting process.

Asked about the ways to prevent such forgeries, Professor Dr Syed Md Golam Faruk, director general of DSHE, said online certificate verification can be an effective way to prevent MPO registration through fake certificates. This process has already been initiated.