10,000 not interested for promotion
Zarif Mahmud: After 15 years, promotion has opened in government primary schools. Assistant teachers are taking charge of the post of head teacher. A quarter of 5,000 teachers have been promoted in three districts in the last two months. About 29,000 more posts are vacant. The Ministry of Primary and Mass Education wants to fill the vacancies of head teachers before the elections. But many qualified teachers are not looking for promotion. Being a head teacher at a late age is now anextra problem for them. The promotion is also ‘bitter’. The ministry and the Directorate of Primary Education are in trouble.
Officials of the ministry and directorate say that the promotion is being given on the basis of seniority. The list of teachers eligible for promotion from upazila level (gradation) has also been done. Most of those at the top of the list are not looking to get promoted. It creates complications. But this is a temporary setback, it will pass soon.
On the other hand, teachers who do not want to be promoted say that their service age is at the end. Not interested in promotion due to age and physical aspect. Because the head teacher is under a lot of pressure. 50-60 registers have to be maintained daily. There is accountability, there is a lot to be done. If they get promoted again, they will not get much more money than the salary they are getting now.
So, coming to the end of the service, the post of head teacher is now an extra problem for them.
According to research, currently the number of government primary schools in the country is 66,620. Of these, more than 29,000 schools have vacancies for head teachers. Assistant teachers are continuing their duties as acting. In 2009, due to litigation, the vacancy of head teacher was stopped by promotion. The case was settled in 2014. In the same year, the post of Headmaster was promoted to Class II. Appointments and promotions go under the PSC. Again, the filling up of vacancies by promotion is stopped. The promotion door opened on August 3.
10,000 teachers do not want promotion
Department of Primary Education has prepared the gradation list for promotion after overcoming all the complications this year. This is done using software called ‘Integrated Gradation Management’. The Ministry of Primary and Mass Education scrutinizes this gradation list of teachers eligible for promotion. The list is then sent to the PSC.
Office order is issued after PSC finalizes the list and sends it to the ministry. Many teachers do not want to get promoted after such a time-consuming process. The directorate directed them to apply under compulsion. After the instructions, about 10,000 teachers applied saying they did not want to be promoted. Sources from the Department of Primary Education have confirmed this information.
Manish Chakma, Director (Policy and Operations) of the Directorate of Primary Education told, “Some are not willing to take it.” He is telling about various reasons including the end of the service age. Mentioning various personal reasons. If someone is unwilling, he cannot be given responsibility by force. We are working on that too.
Promotion at last age not expected
Minti Rani Das has been teaching at North Charbhairavi Government Primary School in Haimchar, Chandpur for a long time. Her husband was also a primary school headmaster. Recently he retired. Minti Rani’s service life is only three years. Now she no longer wants to take the responsibility of head teacher. But his name is first in the promotion gradation list in the upazila. He applied to the Secretary of the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education not to be promoted.
Minti Rani Das said, ‘I was hoping to get promoted at one point. Now they are not drawn to them, but bitter. Find out how many tasks of the head teacher! 62 registers in my school. All accounts have different functions. It is not possible for me to do so much work now. Old, only three years and have a job. I want to finish well. It is not possible to shoulder so much responsibility and trouble.
Ujjala Rani, another teacher of the same upazila, thinks that the post of head teacher is troublesome. He is an assistant teacher at Khudia Bajapti Government Primary School, Haimchar. Ujjala Rani told, ‘I stay alone at home. A son and daughter live in Australia. Another son works in Dhaka. At this age it is difficult for me to manage the house and school. That’s why I applied not to be promoted.
He also said, “There is no benefit in taking promotion.” Rather, the burden of responsibility will fall on the shoulders. There are many arrangements to be made in the school. Attending upazila education office functions, taking people there, calling people for school renovation work. Maintain the register with him. I have no desire to be a headmaster at my late age.’
General Secretary of Haimchar Upazila Primary Teachers’ Association Nasir Uddin told, “Among those whose names are at the front in the gradation list, 12-14 people do not want to be promoted only in Haimchar Upazila. They are now scrambling to apply. No one is interested in promotion to avoid trouble.
Teachers expect salary increase
As per the present pay scale-Assistant Teachers of Primary are getting Grade 13. Those who have been in service for a long time, the salary they get with increments and other benefits will not increase much more than if they were head teachers. Some may increase by Tk 400, some may increase by Tk 600. The senior assistant teachers do not want to shoulder the post of head teacher without increasing the salary.
Najibur Rahman, a teacher in Kushtia said, “With the age of the job, the salary I am getting now with increments, if I become a head teacher, my salary will increase by Tk 400. No special additional benefits will be added even after retirement. That’s why I didn’t want to be promoted to become the head teacher.
He said, ‘To be honest, there is more harm in taking this responsibility. Salaries and allowances will increase by a few taka, thousands of jobs for this. Most of the schools have no peon, no nanny, no sweeper, many posts are vacant. The head teacher is forced to clean the bathroom many times. I have seen it with my own eyes.
Several head teachers were contacted to inquire about the matter. They agreed with the words of Najibur Rahman. A head teacher named Razia Akhter said, “Call the school mother assembly, I called it.” I arranged everything. In the morning I have finished the rally, in the afternoon I have to report to the education office how successful it was. The roof tiles of the school are falling off. Reforms are needed. People called, but money? I have to pay the money myself. After depositing the bill-voucher, the money can be withdrawn after a long time. Sometimes it takes up to six months. There are thousands of such tasks and responsibilities of the head teacher.
Elementary teachers tenth grade implementation committee coordinator Mahbubur Rahman told, “For a long time we have been working on the implementation of the 10th grade of primary teachers. If the government had accepted our demand, then everyone would have been interested in getting promoted. Now there are many assistant teachers, whose salaries are already higher than what you would get as a head teacher. As a result, many are not interested in promotion.
Fear around election
National Assembly elections ahead. Headmasters of government primary schools have to perform their duties in the elections. Teachers see it as a big pressure. There is also a rule of dismissal from the job for irregularities in the election. That’s why many of the ‘harmless’ teachers at the end of their working life do not want to be promoted to the post of head teacher.
A primary school teacher in Rajbari Sadar Upazila told on condition of anonymity, “Many members of my family are involved in politics.” Some of my brothers and uncles join Awami League, while others join BNP. It will be very troublesome and risky for me to shoulder the electoral responsibility. That is why I have applied that I will not be promoted even if my name is at the very beginning of the gradation.
A teacher of Rajshahi’s Mohanpur Upazila also said the same thing. She said, ‘My husband is a religious person. Join an Islamic group. Sometimes go in procession here and there. You have to hear a lot about it in school. If I am the head teacher, I can be a victim of harassment if I am responsible for the election. That’s why I won’t get promoted.
Like two teachers from Rajbari and Rajshahi, some teachers from Dhaka also spoke about election-related problems. If the matter is brought to the attention of the Dhaka District Education Officer. Abdul Majeed told, “According to the rules, teachers are given responsibility in the election. There is no chance of any trouble if you perform your duties properly. Even if an unpleasant incident happens in a polling station, there is no question of taking action against him (the teacher) if he is not involved in it.
Teachers angry of gradation
The gradation list of government primary school teachers is as per the recruitment and promotion rules of 2011. In this case, the seniority is determined according to the date of birth, whichever day the teacher joins. As a result, even though many join the service earlier, they are being kept ahead in the list as their date of birth is one or two months ahead. Many people who are angry about this are not interested in getting promoted.
Nasir Uddin, an assistant teacher at Gandamara Government Primary School in Chandpur, said, “I joined the job earlier. Those who joined after me got the job, they are now getting paid more than me. Now I see again that they are on top of the gradation list. They will also get promotion.
He said, “The gradation has been listed on the date of birth instead of the date of joining the service. It is not acceptable. Younger in age but one can get a job earlier by virtue of merit. Many others join at an advanced age or at the end of government service age. Whoever joins earlier should be considered senior. Then the trouble with promotion will be less. The elderly do not want to take responsibility.
When asked, the Director General (DG) of the Directorate of Primary Education Shah Rezwan Hayat said, “We have done the gradation in the digital system according to the policy. There is no opportunity to go outside the policy. There is a little trouble. We are working with them. We hope that it will be possible to fill the vacancies of head teachers soon.
Farid Ahmed, secretary of the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education, told, “All professions have responsibilities. A teacher will start career, gradually move up. A senior teacher, who has been in service for 30 years, is now unable to perform the duties of a head teacher because of his incapacity and inefficiency. Yes, now if one has personal and physical problems, that is a different matter. It is unacceptable and sad to not want to take responsibility under normal circumstances.’
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