Seven years ago in 2014, the High Court in the state of Bihar in India ordered an investigation on suspicions of large-scale appointment of teachers in the state using forged documents.
The High Court in Bihar ordered the State Vigilance Investigation Bureau (VIB) to expeditiously verify the degrees of teachers when a whistleblower filed a petition in 2014 giving testimonies that many of the school teachers recruited since 2006 had submitted forged qualifications to secure their teaching jobs.
A total of 362,000 teachers, including 2,082 librarians, were appointed in Bihar between 2006 and 2015. More than 110,000 teachers are said to be under the scrutiny of VIB.
At the time when Bihar’s High Court ordered the probe, its Chief Justice observed, “The extent to which the candidates with fake certificates have been appointed as teachers in the past decade is a matter of deep concern… the state government has soft-pedaled the issue for the past one decade… we direct the director general, vigilance, to immediately swing into action and verify the genuineness of certificates of the teachers who have been appointed since 2006.”
To mitigate the suspected large number of teachers involved, the court actually gave amnesty to teachers who had committed fraud to voluntarily resign. However, only about 3,000 teachers responded.
53,000 teachers need to prove authenticity of education degrees
Earlier this month (Jan 2021) at a hearing, Bihar’s High Court expressed its displeasure over the unending probe by the state VIB. The court also threatened action and will hear the matter again in the first week of February.
With VIB’s inability to finish the probe in the suspicious appointments of teachers due to the education department’s failure to provide over 100,000 missing folders, the Bihar state government has now shifted the onus of document verification onto the teachers.
Following this, Education Director Ranjit Kumar Singh wrote to all the district education officers (DEOs) and district programme officers (DPOs) this month about an alternative mechanism for verifying the documents of teachers’ appointment made between 2006 and 2015, since many of the recruiting agencies under the India’s local administration system (Panchayati Raj system) were not cooperating.
The Bihar state government now wants the teachers themselves to prove the authenticity of their certificates. The teachers have to upload the certificates for minimum eligibility required for their recruitment, along with their mark sheets attached with the application and the recruitment letter on a web portal designed for the purpose.
The uploading will be done by the office of the DEO within a specific time frame. The appointments of teachers, whose documents are not uploaded on the portal, will be deemed irregular.
“Prime facie, their appointment will be considered illegal and irregular and suitable action will be taken. The teachers will be served show cause notice and their service will be terminated and the process initiated for recovery of salary drawn by them as per the provisions in the public demand recovery act,” said the letter from the director.
Some 53,000 teachers have been asked to prove the authenticity of their education degrees in this latest move by Bihar state government. “It will be their last chance to prove their degrees or else they can lose their jobs,” said a Bihar official.