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200 teachers to be fired for fraud

Education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma hands over an appointment letter to a TET-qualified teacher at Rabindra Bhawan in Guwahati on Friday. Picture by UB Photos

Guwahati, Feb. 14: The Assam government will sack 200 lower primary school teachers for fraudulently drawing salaries without taking classes.

“A scam has been unearthed in Barpeta district where 200 teachers were found drawing salaries without attending classes at their respective schools. These teachers have made various lame excuses for skipping work — like saying that the schools are a long way away from their homes. They have also resorted to fraudulent practices to draw salaries. Such offences are criminal in nature and the government will soon take a decision to dismiss the guilty teachers from service,” education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma today said while hinting that a few officials may also be involved in the scheme.

The teachers had been appointed after they cleared the Teacher Eligibility Test (TET).

The minister made the revelation during an official function at Rabindra Bhawan here this morning to distribute appointment letters to TET-qualified teachers for appointment in high and higher secondary schools.

Sarma expressed serious concern over the fact that despite the government’s efforts to conduct the TET in a fair and transparent manner, TET-qualified teachers were refusing to join schools situated outside their local areas.

For instance, many teachers refused to join schools situated in sar or riverine areas in Barpeta and other districts.

“I warn that the system of appointing teachers through TET might have to be abolished after a few years in case teachers do not change their mentality. The very purpose of conducting TET was to select candidates who are genuinely interested in imparting education and are ready to go anywhere in the state for the same goal,” Sarma said.

The minister, however, seemed determined to bring about reforms in the education sector and announced that the state government would bring a legislation in the next session of the Assam Assembly in May or June to set up a teacher accountability commission. The commission, to be headed by three former vice-chancellors, will take punitive action against teachers who fail to complete academic courses in time.

“Students will be able to lodge complaints with the proposed teacher accountability commission against teachers who fail to complete academic courses in time. Punitive action, such as (deduction of) monetary compensation, will be imposed on guilty teachers. Departmental proceedings will also be initiated against erring teachers. Teachers, right from lower primary schools to university level, will be brought under the ambit of the accountability commission in a phased manner,” Sarma said.

He appealed to teachers to do some self-introspection and find the reasons behind the slide in the quality of education in government schools. He said various innovative and revolutionary steps would be initiated in 2014 to bring about changes in the systems of teaching and learning.