Baghlan principals accused of asking job seekers for bribes
PUL-I-KHUMRI (Pajhwok): A number of candidates for teacher posts in northern Baghlan province allege they have been asked for bribes. Some school principals, they claim,are patronised by provincial council members.
Theapplicants say they have submitted documents to the authorities concerned years ago, but no one in the Department of Education bothered responding to their requests.
Some of the job-seekers, who have also passed the tests, accuse unnamed principalsof demandingsix-month salariesin bribe in return for employment at their schools.
Abdul Azim, a resident of the provincial capital, says his sister graduated from the Education Institute of Baghlan in 2012 and passed a competitive exam. But she has been denied a job due to presence of corruption in the department.
Azim added the same schools later employed several teachers. Some schoolteachers allegedly asked his sister to give her six-month salaries to the authoritiesto get a job.
“The principals demand bribes from 30,000 to 50,000 afghanis, but we cannot pay this amount,” he said, adding his sistercontinued to look for a job despite being recommended by the relevant ministry and department.
Azim refused to name the bribe-seekingprincipals, who have links with provincial council members and other influential figures.
Mariam, another resident, has been trying for two years for employment as teacher at one of local schools, but she was also asked for bribes. She is a graduate, eligible for the post.
Orders from ministers, governors and education directors are brazenly rejected by the principals, according to her. “Education has been politicised, with principals shielded by provincial council members.”
Without naming anyone, she charged some provincial council members and lawmakers with interfering in education affairs and getting their relatives and blue-eyed people recruited.
Education Director Abdul Qadir Shinwari would neither reject nor accept the allegations. Nonetheless, he did confirm problems in the department. He hinted some principals mighthave sought illegal gratification, but he had no evidence.
“I also heard about bribery at schools, but we have no proofs in this regard. If any evidenceis found, the issue would be shared with judicial organs,” Shinwari promised.
More than 11,500 teachers are imparting education to 300,000 students, including boys and girls, at 500 schools in Baghlan, where officials have repeatedly complained about the absence of professional teachers.
Provincial Council Chairman Safdar Mohseni said no one had the right to interfere in education affairs. Any provincial council member found involved in such meddling would be taken to task, he said.
He revealed a provincial council delegation had been appointed to investigate the complaints. Essential measures would be taken in coordination with local organs if such claims were found credible, he assured.
The newly appointed governor of Baghlan, Abdul Sattar Barez, regretted most of complaints he received over past one month were about related to the Education Department.
“The recommendation of several people for a single post by the Ministry of Education is a major problem. We don’t know how the ministry recommends several people for one position,” he commented.
About corruption in the Baghlan Education Department, he said their investigations into the allegations were ongoing. Positive changes would be brought to the education affairs, he promised.
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