Form committee to probe discrepancies in children’s stipend

Prothom Alo illustration

All sectors of the government including education are rife with discrepancies. The postponement of the results of the primary education scholarship six hours after publication it is the latest example of this.

The primary and mass education ministry in a press release at 8:00pm on Tuesday said the results have been suspended as they deemed a re-evaluation of the published results is necessary because of a technical glitch. Then, the revised results were published on Wednesday night. Sources at the Directorate of Primary Education said problems arose in the results because of errors related to coding. In some cases, students who were not supposed to get a scholarship got it and vice versa.

Primary and mass education minister Md Zakir Hossain announced the results of the primary scholarship examination at a press conference at the secretariat on Tuesday. He said a total of 82,383 students received scholarship this year – 33,000 in talent pool and 49,383 in general category. A recipient of primary scholarship receives a monthly stipend of Tk 300 and Tk 225 in talent pool and general quota until class eight. Besides, all other students receive a stipend of Tk 225 annually. As many as 482,904 students took the test.

Surprisinglystudents who did not take the test also received the scholarship. According to Prothom Alo report, a student from Pamchpaika Government Primary School in Bogura’s Gabtoli upazila registered for the examination but did not take the test. Yet, the student received scholarship in general category.

How could a student get scholarship without taken the test? How have these imaginary results descended on the Directorate of Primary Education? Teachers and guardians expressed anger over such performance of the Directorate of Primary Education.

Professor of Dhaka University’s Institute of Education and Research, Mohammad Tariq Ahsan, correctly said, "Such incidents are a kind of punishment for the children and we don’t have the right to do this.” The Directorate of Primary Education is playing such an unwarranted game with the emotions and feelings of the children. They did not consider the mental pressure of children and its damage at all.

There is no reason to think that the discrepancies over primary scholarship is because of a technical glitch only. It is not unusual that there are vested quarters behind the manipulation and corruption. Those who carried out such irresponsible activity with young students must be brought to book. According to media reports, a three-member probe body with the official of the agency concerned has been formed. We do not think such a committee will be helpful in revealing the truth. A probe body must be formed with officials not from the Directorate of Primary Education, but with technical experts and academicians to unearth the truth and identify the criminals.