'Irregularities galore' in recruitment of educational institutions

Prothom Alo illustration

Former director general of Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) M Matlubor Rahman established the Basir Uddin Degree College Degree College in Mirzapur of Mithapukur upazila in Rangpur in 1994. Although it played a role in spreading education in a remote area, now it is known for its "recruitment business".

Not only the Bashir Uddin College, there have been allegations of irregularities in all the recruitments, from the appointment of fourth class staff to the headmasters, made by the managing committees of the non-government educational institutions under monthly pay order (MPO) system in Mithapukur.

There are a total of 167 non-government educational institutions under MPO, junior high schools, secondary schools, higher secondary and degree colleges and Dakhil, Aleem and Fazil madrasahs.

According to relevant sources, more than 150 people were recruited in different posts, including principals, headmasters, assistant headmaster, office assistants, lab assistants, ayahs and night guards, in different educational institutions in the Mithapukur upazila. However, in the case of non-government educational institutions under the MPO system, recruitment of principal, headmaster, assistant headmaster and third and fourth class posts are done through the managing committee.

Visiting the Mithapukur area, it has been learnt that the presidents of the managing committees of most of the educational institutions in the upazila are local Awami League leaders, who are close to ruling party MP from the Rangpur-5 constituency HN Ashikur Rahman and his son Rashik Rahman. There are several allegations of recruitment business against the managing committees led by these Awami League leaders. Prothom Alo investigated 20 such educational institutions and found evidence supporting the allegations.

However, MP HN Ashiqur Rahman, who is also the treasurer of Awami League’s central committee, told Prothom Alo, “Managing committees of educational institutions are formed through elections. These committees make 95 to 98 per cent recruitments."

Bashir Uddin Degree College

Freedom fighter and member of the donor committee of Bashir Uddin Degree College, Akheruzzaman held a press conference at the Mithapukur Press Club in protest of recruitment business at the college on 6 May.

Akheruzzaman alleged that seven people were appointed as office assistant, lab assistant and cleaners last January by means of recruitment business and college principal Khandker Mushfiqur Rahman and the managing committee were directly involved in this.

Mirzapur resident Jahangir Alam claimed to Prothom Alo that the college principal took Tk 1 million from him promising the post of office assistant cum computer operator.

Another job aspirant named Nazmul Islam alleged that the principal took Tk 350,000 promising him the post of lab assistant (ICT). They both claim that they didn’t get the job. Those who bribed more have got the job. A probe team of the National University visited the college on 23 July. Both the job aspirants filed a complaint in writing to the probe committee.

Dilip Kumar, one of the cleaners of the college, claimed that the principal had taken a total of Tk 280,000 to recruit his wife as a cleaner. However, she didn’t get the job either.

However, principal Khandker Mushfiqur Rahman dismissed all the allegations brought against him. He said, “Dilip came to me with some money to give his wife a job. Now he is making false accusations against me as I refused him. And the allegations made by Jahangir and Nazmul are completely baseless.

Scenario in other institutions

The circular for the recruitment in five posts of Ruposhi High School was issued on 23 May. Many have applied for these posts. The recruitment process is still underway. However, there are allegations that headmaster Rezaul Haque and the managing committee of the school have already taken money from several job aspirants.

Prothom Alo spoke to the families of two job aspirants for the posts of ayah and office assistant on 25 July. They say that they have ‘paid’ the headmaster Tk 300,000 for each post.

Another job aspirant’s father Shamsul Islam of Ruposhi Napitpara village alleged that the headmaster has taken Tk 600,000 promising his son the post of lab assistant. However, the school doesn’t have the approval to recruit in this post. They are not getting back the money either.

Headmaster Rezaul Haque claimed he has some personal financial settlements with some of the job aspirants. However, the allegations of recruitment business against him are not true, he added.

The Moulviganj High School published a circular for recruitments in four posts. Khonragach union parishad chairman and local Awami League leader Asaduzzaman is the president of the managing committee of the school. He too has been accused of taking money from the job aspirants.

He allegedly has taken Tk 400,000 from certain Mumtaz Begum, Tk 100,000 from Mostana Begum and Tk 550,000 from Tamanna Akhter for the same post of ayah.

However, Asaduzzaman refuted the accusations saying he has business transactions with Tamanna’s husband Sanju Mia. He further said he refused the money offered by Mostana. And he doesn’t know Mumtaz, the AL leader claimed.

Recruitment at the permission of the MP

Headmasters and members of managing committees of several institutions told Prothom Alo on condition of anonymity that the upazila secondary education officer always tells them to seek permission from local MP Ashiqur Rahman or his son Rashek Rahman in case of any new recruitment.

Speaking regarding this to Prothom Alo on 26 July, upazila secondary education official Zahedul Islam said, “The MP wants to appoint the most eligible persons. This is the reason I ask them to contact the MP first.”

However, MP HN Ashiqur Rahman said, “Recruitments in educational institutions do not need his approval.”

Speaking regarding the allegations of recruitment business, he said, “Those who fail to secure the job always come up with the allegations of recruitment business.”

Ashiqur Rahman’s son Rashek Rahman also said they have no specific directives regarding recruitments in educational institutions. However, they don't want Jamaat-Shibir members getting the job.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, Biplab Mia, president of the managing committee of Radhakrishnapur High School, said a circular was published on 25 November for four posts of office assistant. When they informed the upazila education officer about this, he asked them to take permission from Rashek Rahman. Following that, he contacted Rashek Rahman several times in Dhaka and Mithapukur.  However, Rashek claimed that he doesn’t know anybody named Biplab.

Biplab Mia said that at one point they filed a writ petition with the High Court over this recruitment. Later, 5 June was fixed as the date for the recruitment exam. Biplab and headmaster were made accused in a case filed over a fight on 4 June. He has been out of the area since police went to his house in search of him. The recruitment exam was not held the next day either.

*This report appeared on the print and online versions of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten in English by Ashish Basu