The long wait for thousands of teachers and employees of non-government educational institutions for monthly pay order (MPO) facilities is likely to end soon, as the process of providing the facilities is now at its final stage.
The qualified institutes will enjoy the MPO facilities from July 2019 though the announcement of fresh names of the MPO-listed institutes is being delayed due to different complexities.Sources said the education ministry has completed all preparations and was hoping to announce fresh MPO enlistment within a short time as it was now carrying out further scrutiny of the MPO list.
The final list was being scrutinised again due to few errors in the MPO policy of 2018 to provide the facilities for non-government educational institutions.
However, those institutions that have already been listed are also being scrutinised. But there was no opportunity to include new institutes in the list.
Earlier on June 14 last year, the education ministry published the MPO Policy-2018 and received applications from the institutes seeking MPO facilities.
The education ministry finalised the list of around 2,700 institutes after examining applications from all educational institutions, which want to get MPO facilities, across the country.
Of the list, around 500 institutes are lower secondary schools while around 1,000 secondary schools, 60 school and colleges, over 100 higher secondary colleges, around 50 degree and honours-masters colleges, 512 madrasas and 486 technical educational institutions.The ministry sent the list of the 2,700 institutes to the Prime Minister Office (PMO) for final approval and issuing gazette notification. But the PMO office has sent back the list to the ministry for further scrutiny.
Education ministry’s Secondary and Higher Education Division senior secretary Md Sohorab Hossain said, “The list of MPO seeking institutes is now under further scrutiny. We do not want to make any mistake so that no controversy arises.”
“We want to complete the work of further scrutiny within a shortest possible time. However, the qualified institutes will enjoy MPO facilities from July 2019 though the announcement is being delayed,” he said
Ministry officials said before finalising the MPO list, necessary inquiries will be made on the governing body or the managing committee of institutes as there are allegations that the board of directors of many qualified institutes is under the control of BNP-Jamaat men.
It is known that the main four conditions are laid down for an institute to get MPO facilities. The MPO policy has fixed 100 marks. Of them, 25 marks are based on the age of institution, 25 on the number of students, 25 on the number of students participating in examination, and 25 marks on pass rate.
In the policy, the authorities have sought information on four levels of institutions — lower secondary (from sixth to eighth grade), secondary (from ninth to tenth grade), higher secondary (from eleventh-twelfth grade) and then degree and honours-masters.
The minimum number of students has been fixed at each level and there is number on the pass rate. However, there is inconsistency in the policy as it is not mentioned at all levels what percentage of the students will have to participate in the examination.
Even, there is no mention of minimum examinees in the humanities, commerce and science groups. Insiders said this is a big inconsistency in the policy.
Officials said it is possible to show students at an institution, and if there is a poor student then it is possible to show good pass rate. But if there is an obligation on the number of students taking part in the exam, then many institutions that are on the list will be dropped.
In addition, the secondary level is usually referred to as the sixth to the tenth grade. But it also has a lower secondary level. The policy does not say that if a secondary level school wants to get MPO facilities, then it must achieve either the lower secondary and secondary level qualification or only the secondary level qualification.
There are also questions that if an eleventh-twelfth level of an institution cannot qualify for MPO facility, how the institution’s degree or honours-masters level can qualify for the MPO benefit?
Besides, an institution does not have the necessary qualifications for MPO enrolment at the higher secondary level but there is qualification at degree level. The policy does not say what will happen to that institution. Such inconsistencies have been identified in the policy.
The work has begun to correct the errors of the policy. The list of eligible institutions will be finalised in line with the revised policy. However, some of the institutions already in the list have been found inconsistent with the data, said a top official of the ministry
After finalising the list, there is a possibility of further inconsistencies. So the ministry is planning to add some more issues to the policy. If there is evidence of wrong information of any institution even after enlistment in the MPO, the ministry will have the power to cancel the MPO of that school or college.
Meanwhile, it has been found that none of institutions is eligible for MPO facility in some upazilas. The ministry is now thinking of giving MPO enrolment considering the geographical situation of those areas even though there are poor students at the institutions. More than 4 lakh teachers and employees of 26,340 secondary schools, colleges, madrasas and technical institutes are getting the MPO benefits at present.
After a suspension for around six years, the MPO scheme was revived by the Awami League-led government in 2010 which brought 1,624 secondary and higher secondary schools and colleges under the scheme. But since then, no new school has been brought under the MPO.
Several thousand teachers and employees of government-recognised educational institutions have long been demanding resumption of the MPO facilities.