L B Singh, a teacher at a Bihar government school in Saharsa, was born in January 1986. But he got his Bachelor of Education degree in 1979 — seven years before he was born.
Indu Kumari of Saran got her B.Ed degree seven years before her birth, while Shivnarayan Yadav of Madhepura and Priti Kumari, Tarkeshwar Prasad Singh of East Champaran achieved this distinction three years and five years before they were born, respectively.
There are at least 95 other such teachers among the 32,127 appointed by Bihar in March-April 2012, in compliance with the Supreme Court’s 2010 order to appoint 34,540 teachers, who got their B.Ed degrees either before their birth or before the likely age of 21. The vacancies were advertised by the Staff Selection Commission in 2003 but not honoured by the previous RJD government.
The number of those among the 32,127 who could have got jobs on fake or forged degrees is above 3,000, sources in the Bihar Human Resource Development Ministry told The Indian Express. Since an inquiry began in June 2012 following numerous complaints by candidates who were not selected, 306 of them have been sacked.
The minimum qualification to get the job of a regular teacher at a Bihar government school (Classes I to VIII) is graduation followed by a B.Ed degree. Between two similarly qualified applicants, whoever has got a B.Ed degree earlier is preferred for the job. A regular teacher gets Rs 32,000 a month.
Bihar Primary Education Joint Director R S Singh said: “Of the 306 regular teachers terminated so far, 39 each are from Vaishali and Gopalganj, followed by 36 from Kaimur. We have already intensified the degree verification process for both regular and contract teachers.”
The Indian Express had reported in June that 20,000 of the 1.42 lakh contractual teachers appointed during a mass recruitment drive between 2006 and 2011 had been selected on the basis of forged educational or professional degrees.
Chief Minister Jeetan Ram Manjhi had ordered an inquiry into the appointments after The Indian Express reports. The state government that put in place a Teachers’ Eligibility Test in 2012 for contract teachers has also decided to make the appointment process more transparent through amendments in existing norms.
These new findings are concerning regular teachers. A senior HRD official admitted that they were yet to take action against most of these teachers due to the “lackadaisical pace” of inquiry.
Though the Bihar Primary Education Director wrote in April 2012 to all district education officers to ensure that the degrees of all the selected regular teachers were verified before their first salaries were disbursed, as per the Supreme Court’s instructions, HRD officials are to carry this out fully.
Among the districts with the most irregularities was Saran, where about 400 of the 1,220 teachers appointed allegedly got jobs through fake educational or professional degrees. Only five teachers have lost their jobs so far here.
Chayanit Abhyardhi Shikshak Sangh (‘selected applicant teachers’ association’) president Bijendra Singh claims that most of the selected candidates had procured degrees from “blacklisted” institutions which do not conform to government norms. The blacklisted institutes include many in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal.
“Even though the Bihar Primary Education Directorate had listed about 200 educational institutions from or outside the state derecognising degrees issued by them, the government has not been able to tell how many of the appointed 32,127 teachers had got B.Ed. degrees from these institutes,” he said.