A teachers’ activist body had exposed a racket of teachers with bogus certificates in 2011 and 2012, but no action was taken then; state education minister Vinod Tawde ordered an inquiry after the issue came up in the winter session
The issue of teachers with bogus certificates cropped up in the winter session of the state legislature in Nagpur on Wednesday, after a teachers’ activist body demanded stringent action against those who had been caught with dubious certificates over the past three years.
In 2011 and 2012, over ten teachers in Mumbai were caught with fake certificates, and while they lost their jobs, no serious action was taken against them. The Teachers’ Democratic Front (TDF), an association of schoolteachers, blew the whistle on the racket based on a tip-off that an agent operating in the Western suburbs had been issuing fake degrees in the name of a university in Varanasi.
The education department and the University of Mumbai took it up and got in touch with officials from the said Varanasi University only to find out that such an institute, as mentioned by the teachers on their certificates, did not exist. MLC Kapil Patil, on behalf of TDF raised the issue of the lack of strong action against the offenders.
“What’s worse is that at present teachers who are honest are losing jobs and not getting paid, whereas the real culprits are getting away. We have stressed on the need for stringent action against the teachers, but nothing has changed,” said Rajesh Pandya, vice-president of TDF.
He added that the organisation has demanded that not only should the culprits be put behind bars, but also made to pay back the money they took from the government in the name of salary. “In so many years, no action has been taken against the teachers.
We have a strong feeling some education officials were also involved in the racket, and, therefore, are trying to sweep this issue under the carpet,” added Pandya. State education minister Vinod Tawde ordered a probe into the case yesterday.
Meanwhile, thousands of teachers across the state who are fighting for their rights after being declared surplus by the state education department had a bit of cheer on Friday. During the winter session at Nagpur, Tawde declared that probationary teachers who lost their jobs after being rendered surplus would be accommodated against vacant posts in schools.
He also asked authorities to look into the status of surplus librarians and find a way to best place them into a suitable job profile. Members of Shikshak Bharati, a social group fighting for teachers’ rights, stated that of the 45,000-odd teachers who were declared surplus over the past couple of years, 12,000 regular teachers have already been accommodated in vacant posts, but probationary teachers are still waiting to be re-employed.
“A teacher in Nanded recently committed suicide after going jobless for almost two years, and others are losing hopes of getting help from the government. We are glad that the government finally agreed to look into our problem,” said a member of Shikshak Bharati.