If the news of state education commissioner declaring 32 teachers approvals in Pune as illegal was shocking, then there is some more bad news in store. The number is likely to increase, exponentially, as the 32 illegal approvals is believed to be just the tip of the iceberg.
In the last three months, a whopping 6,000 cases of teachers approvals in state-aided schools across Maharashtra are being investigated, wherein large-scale forgery is suspected. All approvals pertain to the period after 2012 when the state government had banned the recruitment of teachers in primary, secondary and higher secondary schools after it came to light during an official survey that there were excess teachers in many educational institutions.
Hence, the state had taken a policy decision in 2012 that unless excess teachers were absorbed in service, there would be a ban on recruitment. “At present, the biggest task before us is to complete the inquiry on teachers approvals. In many cases of approvals, we suspect foul play. There are some 6,000-odd cases statewide which our department is probing,” said Purshottam Bhapkar, state education commissioner.
Most importantly, these cases pertain to the period after 2012 when there was a ban which gives way to suspicion that doubtful practices might have been adopted. That in many cases no records have been maintained is also proving to be a challenge for us. However, in cases where inquiry has been initiated, we are nearly coming to a close now and action has been initiated,” Bhapkar added.
Two days back, when 32 teaching and non-teaching staff approvals made by Pune Municipal Corporation education officer Baban Dahiphale were declared bogus, 98 such false approvals were confirmed in Washim too and all of them were cancelled. Salaries drawn by the appointees for the last three years were instructed to be taken back.
“What is serious is that in nearly 30 percent cases, we are not getting the files pertaining to the approval process. In the absence of documentation, it is difficult to ascertain if any forgery was done. And this is the case in many districts. The general excuse is that the file cannot be found or is lost which gives rise to doubts whether the information and papers were deliberately held back to suppress information,” Bhapkar said.
“At present, we are finishing off the inquiry in those cases where the files have been found and asking people to prove their case in case of irregularities. For the others, we have issued showcause notices for why the files have not been submitted and their cases would be taken up seriously,” Bhapkar added.