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Infighting sullies education dept image

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan

NAGPUR: The education department in the city is plagued with infighting thus keeping it in the news for all the wrong reasons. Education officials keep filing complaints against each other which lead to a never-ending series of inquiries.

There are three prominent education officer posts in the city, namely the deputy director, education officer (middle school) and education officer (primary school).

A source in the Pune-based headquarter of the director (education) told TOI that the complaints against the department have been coming steadily from both outside and within. “There seems to be an increase in the bickerings between education officials in addition to the constant flow of complaints against some or the other officials. One of Nagpur’s education offices is being investigated by a committee headed by their counterparts from neighbouring Amravati. The report of this investigation is expected soon,” said the source.

A major case of internal bickering is being witnessed at the education (middle school) office. The office is facing an inquiry over allegations of wrongful sanctioning of teachers’ posts. While the inquiry against the middle school education office was started after a privilege motion was moved in the state assembly, another version is also doing the rounds.

According to many city schools, when the middle school education officer was on leave last year another official was given charge. This stand-in officer is said to have issued multiple sanctions during his first week itself.

On hearing this, the vacationing education officer rushed back to reclaim his territory. The office witnessed a huge showdown between the two officials, with allegations of kickbacks in sanctions flying thick and fast. Soon the issue was raised in the assembly and an inquiry was initiated. That education officer is known to boast to his colleagues that he had provided all the information necessary to start the inquiry.

Interestingly the same officer is now facing various allegations. The department’s Pune office has received a letter from another education official listing various “misuse of power”.

This stand off between the staff of deputy director (education) office and that of education officer (middle school) is a cause of worry for the schools. A school principal on condition of anonymity, said, “If we visit the deputy director office for some work, somehow the other department gets the information. Immediately next day onwards we get calls for ‘inspection’ and even ‘donations’ for religious festivals. We cannot be perceived as being close to either one.”

Speaking to TOI, MLC Nago Ganar (teachers constituency), said, “The fight between the two offices is only to get a lion’s share of kickbacks. In my view Nagpur is one of the most corrupt places when it comes to the education department and I am ashamed of it. Corruption and infighting is rampant which is hampering the growth of the education sector. I have raised the issues many times in the assembly to set things right and I hope that in the future things will be better.”

The Times of India, 30 September 2011

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