The appointment and postings of schoolteachers in Bangladesh are rife with corruption and irregularities. Much has been written in the media in this regard, but to no avail. In the case of non-government schools, the directorate of secondary and higher secondary education can blame the managing committee of the schools for this situation, but not so in the case of government schools. It is the directorate that is responsible for the appointment and postings of teachers in the government schools.
They blame the shortage of teachers in government secondary schools on no appointments being made to the vacant posts. But it is unacceptable that some schools have a surplus of teachers, while some have a shortage, and some schools don’t have any teachers at all for certain subjects. This situation has been prevailing for years on end.
According to a Prothom Alo news report on 3 July, while the government secondary schools in the well-to-do areas of the capital city have surplus teachers for English, Mathematics, Social Science and other subjects, there is a shortage of teachers in the government secondary schools at the district and upazila levels. There is even a lack of teachers in several government secondary schools in Dhaka city as well.
Officials of the secondary and higher secondary education directorate have admitted there are shortcomings in the posting of teachers. They say there are 10,562 approved posts of teachers in the government secondary schools. Of these, 1,999 posts remain vacant. Subject-wise there are 127 vacant posts for math teachers, 324 for English and 291 for science. How can the government schools run with such a shortage of teachers? The students are suffering.
In government or private offices, one person can somehow to the job of another, but that is not so in the case of teachers. The secondary and higher secondary education directorate has said that new appointments of teachers will be made by March-April next year. Will there be no lessons in those schools till then?
According to the rules, no teachers can remain in the same school for more than three years. But in Dhaka schools, many teachers have been remaining in the same place for up till 10 years. Reporting on the matter in 2017, the anti-corruption commission had recommended that such teachers be posted to schools outside of Dhaka division. The education ministry at the time transferred a handful of teachers while the others remained firmly entrenched where they were. The teachers simply lobbied for their choice postings or resorted to ‘other means’. The education minister may have changed, but the work culture in the sector has not.
The secondary and higher secondary education directorate has said the problem will be resolved once the new teachers are appointed in March-April next year. That means the lack of teachers will prevail till then. The students will be deprived of lessons. This cannot be accepted. The studies of thousands of students are being ruined. This must end.
Teachers must be appointed immediately to the vacant posts of teachers in the government secondary schools. The teachers should be transferred from the schools where there are surplus teachers to the schools where the posts remain vacant.