As a child, she wanted to be a doctor. She ended up as a primary school teacher whose appointment, the Assam government found out, was doctored.
Born in 1980, Geetali Das was barely six years when her name appeared in a selection list of primary school teachers in 1986. Education department officials said she was enlisted by her father Maneswar Das, an employee in the office of the Inspector of Schools, Kamrup district.
However, an inordinate delay in induction of the selected teachers saw Geetali joining as an assistant teacher 13 years later. She was appointed at the Krishnanagar Primary School in the Japarigog locality of this city on November 26, 1999.
Last Friday, the Primary Education commissioner-secretary issued an order cancelling Geetali’s appointment with immediate effect after months of internal inquiry revealed that her papers were fudged.
Appointment of ‘illegal’ and ‘fake’ teachers in schools—the government does not know how many it runs as well as how many teachers there are on its payroll—has dogged successive governments in Assam since the 1980s.
In 2001, the government sacked some 5,000 teachers in Nalbari district appointed agains 266 valid posts under political patronage during the last months of the Asom Gana Parishad government.
More skeletons began tumbling out of the Education Department cupboard last year after the authorities busted a teacher appointment racket in August last year. Five persons including the additional deputy commissioner of Cachar in southern Assam were arrested in that connection.
Investigations last year revealed a teacher named Islam Ali was appointed at age 11, and he passed his high school leaving certificate exam, a requisite for the job of an elementary school teacher, four years after securing the job in 1999.
According to State education minister Ripun Bora, efforts were being made to get to the bottom of all anomalies in the department. “The culprits won’t be spared,” he said.