Education department plagued with anomalies
Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Reports are published almost daily on anomalies, corruption and incompetence of the departments and personnel bestowed with the responsibility of educating our future generation. They have failed in their duty miserably while the current military-controlled interim government seems unconcerned about making things right. The report of January 27 that the government has failed to disburse the stipend money for July–December 2007 affecting the education of more than 14 lakh female students is alarming and raises serious doubt about the incumbents’ sincerity about providing education to the disadvantaged and attaining gender parity in secondary education. The report says it is learnt that under the Secondary Education Sector Development Project and the Female Secondary Stipend Project the female students of about 19,383 secondary schools and madrassahs in 355 upazilas are awarded stipend in two instalments every financial year. Though the education ministry at a meeting on December 27 last year set a January 15 deadline for completion of stipend disbursement, the money is yet to reach lakhs of female students, a large number of whom are from the Sidr-affected areas, who, without the money, will not be able to buy books and other necessary educational materials. It should be noted that a large number of parents send their daughters to school presuming that they would benefit from the stipend of their daughters and often treat it as an additional income, which is, of course, the basic incentive for girls attending schools. The incentive of stipends thus is very high and must not be squandered in anyway. On January 28, another report was published detailing the stories of corruption and malpractices that have long been plaguing the Shiksha Bhaban where a group of officers and employees have reportedly formed a syndicate and been holding as hostage the thousands of teachers and employees who visit the office every day from around the country for various purposes. It seems that the incumbent government is on an experimental mode with our education sector and does care in the least if things go disarray. We are not sure whether it is the lack of the rulers’ commitment or bureaucratic ineptitude or both that are responsible for such failure, yet we cannot help but feel enraged at the nonchalant attitude of the government and ministries concerned. It is time for the government to intervene and act with utmost sincerity to clean up the mess. There must be better monitoring by the education ministry of the activities of the Shiksha Bhaban. Anyone found to have indulged in any sort of malpractice should be dealt with utmost severity. At the same time, the incumbents should also ensure that distribution of textbooks, stipends etc. are carried out smoothly and on time.

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