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Probe finds 550 teachers on Patna municipal schools’ rolls absent for 2 to 5 years

The district magistrate of Patna said by the time reports from all the blocks and sub-divisions were in, the number of absentee teachers in municipal schools of the district might exceed the figure of 1,000.

india Updated: May 21, 2017 19:56 IST
VK Tripathi
VK Tripathi
Hindustan Times, Patna
Education scam,Patna district,Absentee teachers
Hundreds of teachers on the rolls of municipal schools of Patna have not been showing up for years. (HT representative pic)

In a major education-related ‘scam’ detected in Bihar’s Patna district, at least 550 teachers of government secondary and higher secondary schools in the district have been found to be still in ‘service’ despite being absent from duty for periods ranging from two to five years.

Confirming the unearthing of the ‘scam’, Patna district magistrate Sanjay Kumar Agarwal said the figure of 550 was a provisional figure. “The actual number of absentee teachers may well exceed the figure of 1,000 as reports are still to come in from Danapur, Phulwari and Masaurhi nagar parishads of Patna”, he said.

Besides, the number of absentee teachers confirmed so far did not include primary school teachers.

The figure of 550 was confirmed during a review meeting held here by the Patna DM, Saturday evening. Data procured from sub-divisions and blocks of Patna district was analysed at the meeting, to arrive at the figure of 550.

The Patna DM has ordered the district education officer ( DEO ) to take immediate action against the erring teachers, failing which he ought to be ready to face action himself.

“I have also asked for explanation to be sought from the executive officers concerned of the Patna municipal corporation and the Patna district board, asking why disciplinary action should not be recommended against them”, the DM told HT.

Agarwal said all these absentee teachers were appointed on contract basis. Though they were not paid salary by the authorities concerned, the very fact that remained in service and managed their postings, was a matter of great concern as it severely impaired teaching in affected schools.

The administration has also found that the resignations submitted by about 300 teachers of secondary and higher secondary schools are still pending for approval. This was discerned as a ‘ploy’, the idea behind it being whenever any absentee teacher wanted to return to work, he/she had only to withdraw his/her resignation letter.

Rules provide for termination of service of any teacher found absent for three months.

Agrawal said he got a whiff of the ‘scam’ when, while he was touring rural areas, some people complained about the long absence of teachers from schools, causing great problems for their wards appearing for class X and XII board examinations.

“In some schools there were no teachers in many subjects while the records showed the teachers were in full strength. As such, I sought a status report on schools from all sub-divisions and blocks of Patna district. When we reviewed the data on Saturday, we realised the huge scale of the irregularity”, the DM added.

While 168 teachers were found absent from Patna Municipal Corporation ( PMC) schools, the number was almost double at 291 in schools under the district board. Others absentees were in Barh, Mokama, Bakhtiarpur, Khagaul and other nagar parishads of Patna district.

No state official was available on Sunday to comment on the findings. But there was speculation that the Patna DM’s report, once submitted, might serve as an eye-opener for the state government and prompt it to order similar inquiries in the remaining 37 districts of Bihar.

First Published: May 21, 2017 19:56 IST