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Author Topic: Teachers Make Ghost Students’ to save Jobs  (Read 598 times)

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Teachers Make Ghost Students’ to save Jobs
« on: July 01, 2013, 09:20:36 AM »
Teachers Make Ghost Students’ to save Jobs
Karachi :01 July : Salman Nohri is an eight-year-old student of class four in this remote village of Thar Desert in the documents of the education department, but the truth is, he was never born.
The Union Council (smallest administrative unit) Saranghi of Chachro Taluka, Thaprparkar, has 1,175 households with a population of 6,500, out of which 3,954 children (2,250 girls and 1,704 boys) are shown in the education department's record, registered as students. This means 61 percent population of the UC is registered as students in this area. For these 3,954 students, Sindh education department has established 62 state-run primary schools and has appointed 67 teachers. There are six major settlements or villages in this UC, out of which in just one village, Goth Wavri Dora, there are 53 primary schools including 29 schools for boys and 24 for girls.

Out of the total 62 schools of the UC, 42 are main schools with 19 branches.

In remote areas, to facilitate students, the government establishes branch schools for those who live further then the main school, the students will be registered in the main school, but will get education at the branch school near their home.

The first school in this area was established in 1973 and then there is a long queue of schools. In PPP's last government, despite having 50 schools in this union council at that time, 12 new schools were granted and more teachers were appointed.

It is worth mentioning here that out of these 62 schools, 42 have no school building and so the teachers have built makeshift huts on self-help basis just to save their jobs. Majority of population of this village belong to the Nohri (also known as Arbab) clan, which belong to former Sindh chief minister Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim.

According to an official of Sindh education department, political lords in the area issued appointment orders for the teachers as a bribe to get support. Later, these teachers started establishing schools on the documents to justify their employment.

Many of these teachers built small huts and hoisted a Pakistani flag on it with a small board displaying the name of the school. After establishing these hut-schools there was the question of student enrolments, therefore, these teachers created ghost students to justify their salaries and employments. Thus, these ghost students in this remote village started getting enrolled on the documents of Sindh education department.

Not stopping at just creating and enrolling students, the teachers also evolved a system for attendance, giving examination papers and even supplementary exam to keep the whole thing running.

Additionally, these ghost students received regular supplies of edible oil and other food items, issued by United Nations (UN) World Food Programme (WFP) for the malnourished school children.

Interestingly, all these schools have SEMIS code, which means government officially knows the existence of these schools in the area. According to the official data acquired by this scribe from Reform Support Unit (RSU), Sindh Education Department, SEMIS Wing, all these schools are registered with Sindh Education Information Management System (SEMIS) and each of these schools is issued an SEMIS code.

According to official data, in 1991, the Government of Pakistan established National Education Management Information System (NEMIS) in July 1991 in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to introduce transparency and coordination within the different branches of education department for the betterment of education.

Later on, under NEMIS, Sindh Education Information Management System (SEMIS) was introduced just to avoid repetition of construction of school buildings, appointments of teachers in the same area, for which education department introduced SEMIS code. Connected with advanced information system, with each code there is complete information of every school, its location, number of students, teachers, classrooms and other information.

Executive District Officer (EDO) Education, Tharparkar, Abdul Majeed Hur bluntly rejected such information and said that UC Saranghi of Chachro Taluka does not have such high number of schools.

"We have only 32 schools in total in this UC, including 22 boys and 11 girls primary schools and 1 high school, not 62 schools, though even these numbers are high," Hur said, adding it is because the UC is in a remote area and it is very difficult to walk miles from one sand dune to another every day.

"We have built a high number of schools because people are scattered. There are only 67 teachers. There is no SEMIS code either, and therefore except the 32 schools, the rest do not belong to education department," Hur justified his position.

When Secretary Education Fazalullah Pechuho was contacted in this regard, he claimed ignorance of the matter and said, "I am not in a position to comment on this."

However, Executive Director Association for Water, Applied Education and Renewable Energy (AWARE) Ali Akbar, who has collected the entire data on these schools from the education department said, "All 62 schools of UC Saranghi are officially registered with the education department, for which it is paying salaries to the teachers and even releasing funds for performing routine activities like routine classes, semester examinations and supplementary examinations."

It is worth mentioning here that annually, only 140 students graduate from the local secondary school.

Another side: Six-year-old Sahanti Nohri, resident of Wavri Dora is a student of class II and there is a school just beside her home, but she has to walk to a distant one. She has to walk on other side of the village every day to attend the school being run by her father's friend, who wants more students enrolled at his branch-school.

"Despite that there is a school right beside my house, I have to walk to attend school every day. I often get late to attend classes, and even while I return home. But I do not have a choice, since my father's friend has asked him to get me registered at his school," Sahanti said.Daily Times.
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