Deprivation of Retirement Benefits

Non-govt teachers in grave misery

Md Solamain Salman

4th October, 2020 10:45:23 printer

Non-govt teachers in grave misery

Over 42,000 retired teachers and employees of non-government educational institutions across the country are passing days in miseries for a long delay in getting their retirement benefits after the end of their services.

They are now moving from door to door of offices of the Non-government Teachers and Employees Welfare Trust (NGTEWT) and the Non-Government Employee Retirement Benefits Board (NGERBB) to receive their entitlements.

According to sources at the NGTEWT and the NGERBB, around 42,433 applications for retirement benefits are pending with the authorities concerned.

Of them, around 20,000 applications have been submitted for welfare benefits while 22,433 others for retirement benefits.

Four per cent of Monthly Payment Order (MPO) of teachers and employees are deducted for the welfare fund while another six per cent of MPO is collected for the retirement benefits board.

The government also contributes a portion to the welfare and retirement funds for eligible retirees of the MPO-listed educational institutions.

But, retired teachers and employees are failing to receive the retirement benefits even after two to three years of filing applications after their retreatment. Even, many retired teachers and employees waiting for retirement benefits have died.

During a visit to the office of the Welfare Trust and Benefits Board housed at Bangladesh Bureau of Educational Information and Statistics (BANBEIS) building at Nilkhet in the city, retired teachers, employees or their family members were seen moving from door to door of the officers to get the payment processed.

Delwar Hossain, a retired teacher of a Dakhil madrasah in Chauddagram upazail of Cumilla, said, “I submitted an application in January 2019 to get my retreatment benefit, but haven’t got it yet.”

“My only son is a patient of brain tumour while I am also seriously ill, so I applied for retreatment benefits urgently to bear my treatment and family costs, but I haven’t got the benefit till now.”

“Recently, I sold a piece of land to bear our treatment and living costs. We are moving door to door of the office but I don’t know when I’ll get my benefit.”

 Mujibul Haque, principal of Siraj Sikdar Degree College in Vaderganj upazial of Shariatpurm, said he retired from his job on July 4, 2018.  Since then, he is moving to the office to get his benefits.

Like them, over 42,000 teachers and employees are waiting for their pension benefits for months or years together.

Talking to this corresponded, many teachers alleged that they are passing a miserable life for lack of money amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The authorities, however, said they are trying to provide retirement benefits for teachers and employees in due time, but cannot do it due to lack of funds.

NGERBB officials said a fund of Tk 2,884 crore is needed to settle 22,433 pending applications.

Around Tk 105 crore requires every month for settling the applications but the board is earning only Tk 66 crore --Tk 60 crore (six per cent of MPO from 4 lakh MPO-teachers and employees) every month while around Tk 6 crore from the interest of fixed deposits.

As the board forced to dispose of the applications by Tk 66 crore every month as the crisis is lingering.

The board is now disposing of the applications pending from January to May 2018.

NGERBB Member Secretary Sharif Ahamed Sadi said, “We can’t provide the expected services for retried teachers and employees due to a fund crisis.”

 “Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina provided around Tk 1,317 crore in three consecutive years, so we have settled around 23,500 pending applications in the last two and half years.”

“We’ve planned to dispose of 12,000 more pending applications in the “Mujib Barsho” as we applied to the education ministry for Tk 1,000 crore from the supplementary budget,” he added.

NGTEWT officials said there are around 20,000 pending applications but the authorities cannot dispose of the applications due to lack of funds. They also sought Tk 1,000 crore from the education ministry to solve the crisis.

NGTEWT Member Secretary Principal Md. Shahjahan Alam Saju said that they have to pay the welfare benefits as per the latest pay scale. But they don’t have sufficient funds to settle the payments.

“We are working to reduce the number of pending applications in the “Mujib Borsah” and hoped that the problems will be almost resolved by next one year.”

He also said they disposed of the pending applications until August 2018 and now they are working to dispose of 5,000 more applications within a shortest time.

The government constituted the Welfare Trust for Teachers and Employees of Non- Government Educational Institutions in 1990, but its operation remained stalled from 1991 to 1996.

The then Awami League-led government resumed the activities of the Welfare Trust and started providing retirement benefits for non- government teachers and employees from 1997.

Meanwhile, the government formed the Non-Government Employee Retirement Benefits Board in 2002 to pay retirement benefits to teachers and employees.

Today is World Teachers’ Day. World Teachers’ Day 2020 will be celebrated virtually with the theme, “Teachers: Leading in crisis, reimagining the future” across the country.

Like the other countries, the day will be also celebrated in Bangladesh. Different organizations including Shadinata Shikkhak Parishad, Bangladesh Shikkhok Samity, and Bangladesh Teachers Association will organize different programme to mark the day.

Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni and Deputy Minister for Education Mohibul Hassan Chowdhury are scheduled to be participated at a virtual discussion organized by Shadinata Shikkhak Parishad at 1:30pm.

Every year on 5 October since 1994, UNESCO celebrates the World Teachers’ Day (WTD) to commemorate the anniversary of the signing of the 1966 ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers and the 1997 Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher-Education Teaching Personnel.