Rifts within Karachi intermediate education board deepen

Source:  Dawn.com Published in Education on Wednesday, October 7, 2015

KARACHI: All is not well at the Board of Intermediate Education Karachi (BIEK), it was evident on Tuesday after several staffers, teachers and lecturers there came out holding placards and chanting slogans against the chairman.

Due to this, BIEK chairman Mohammad Akhtar Ghori called a press conference in the afternoon to take the media into confidence about the recent goings-on at the board.

“Ever since my taking over as the chairman of the board on June 20, I have been telling the staff here to pull up their socks. I intend running a tight shift. They, of course, don’t like it. And I am beginning to understand the reason behind this,” he said.

“There have been financial issues from before my coming here and I wanted to understand what was going on. But looking into the matter is not easy because there are hardly any records to review in order to fix things. I am told the files are either missing or not available with the section they belong to.

“Therefore, on Sept 9, I issued a directive telling section heads and superiors of the administration, accounts, IT, etc to maintain and update their records and ensure that no unauthorised person should have access to official records,” the chairman added.

Mr Ghori disclosed: “Now the anti-corruption people also want to see our old records. What do I tell them? I have asked my staff to get things in order and at least tell me about the missing records and for how long they have been missing but I get a blank look in reply. When it comes to such unprofessional behaviour, every staff member is answerable. But I feel I am dealing with an internal mafia here.

“As an additional challenge, now my controller of examinations, too, is doing things behind my back. I go out of town for a couple of days for the Inter Board Committee of Chairmen meeting and he transfers officers without notifying me. He doesn’t have the authority to do that so I cancelled the transfers.

“Then he uses abusive language while threatening my private secretary and assistant secretary establishment when they refuse his orders to tamper with records. I have issued him a letter demanding an explanation for all this,” he said.

Besides, the chairman said, there were so many other unanswered question marks regarding the BIEK. “Why are students who pass from here with over 80 per cent marks, failing entrance tests of good universities? How come, some clerks working here own cars and live in 120-yard houses, which they also own? Something is very wrong here,” he argued.

But he said he had been posted there for three years and during this time he intended ending all corruption within the board and along with it end the copy culture. He believed that the board money should be used to upgrade the board, rather than being siphoned off into an individual’s pocket.

On being contacted, BIEK Controller of Examinations Imran Khan Chishti said he was shocked to find his chairman accusing the board of all kinds of wrongdoings including selling of positions. “I am saddened and surprised that he would say something like this. He holds a press conference hurling all kinds of accusations at his staff that are all unfounded, mala fide. This is not expected of the head of a credible organisation such as the BIEK,” he said.

“Since his [the chairman’s] coming here in June, he has been talking of ending all corruption and I was so inspired by him and told him that in me he had an ally. But then he had his list of friends whose children he wanted to pass with high grades. Then he decided to change the almost new furniture in the chairman’s office and threw away Rs600,000 on that. He also brought along with him some staff from Governor House where he had been appointed previously and told BIEK’s regular staff to vacate their rooms in order to accommodate them there. I feel so disillusioned by all this now.

“Since June we have been sending him requisitions for tabulation registers, copies, printing material, answer books and we are into October now without anything,” the examinations controller claimed.

Meanwhile, BIEK staff members and officers who protested against the chairman accused him of mistreating and insulting the staff, including grade 17 to 18 officers, in the presence of their subordinates.

The Sindh Professors and Lecturers Association (SPLA) said the current BIEK chairman had devastated the whole education system. The professors and lecturers, including SPLA Sindh president Prof Syed Ali Murtaza and their president for Karachi region Prof Ferozuddin Siddiqui, showed their grievance over the observation that the chairman was only a BSc while the controller of examinations and secretary, who fell under his supervision should at least have an MA or BA/BEd degree according to the Board’s Calendar and Act Ordinance of 1972.

Meanwhile, Sindh Teachers’ Forum has also assured the protesters at the BIEK office of their support.

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Written by Shazia Hasan

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