The position of Dhaka education board chairman, who is responsible for the coordination among the eight education boards in Bangladesh, has been vacant for the past two months.
Board activities are being carried out by the acting chairman. The secretary of the board, Associate Professor Md Shahedul Khabir, is handling the responsibilities of the chairman as an additional duty.
The chairmen posts are also vacant in Sylhet and Comilla education boards. The Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examination is scheduled to begin April 2.
A number of officials concerned have expressed concerns over the ongoing situation, and whether the question paper leak can be prevented in this year's exam.
The question papers of Secondary School Certificate (SSC) exam, which ended recently, were systematically leaked.
There are complaints that 11 officials of the Dhaka education board formed a syndicate that masterminded the leak.
On February 22, seven officials of the board were transferred. Md Shahedul Haque was handling the responsibilities of both the secretary and the chairman.
To prevent question paper leaks in the upcoming HSC exam, the Ministry of Education has taken up a few initiatives.
However, to implement these initiatives, all education boards throughout Bangladesh must be fully on board.
According to sources, on January 7, the incumbent chairman of Dhaka education board, Prof Mahbubur Rahman, was appointed as the director general of the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education.
As the post became vacant, the board secretary, Md Shahedul Khabir took over the responsibilities of the chairman.
The previous chairman of Sylhet education board, KM Golam Kibria Tapadar, retired on February 7. His duties were taken over by Sylhet board Secretary Mostafa Kamal Ahmed.
The chairman position of Comilla education board also became vacant at the end of 2017.
Board Secretary Prof Md Abdus Salam is handling the additional duties of the chairman alongside his own duties.
“I have been handling the responsibilities of the chairman from December 28, 2017,” Salam said.
Commenting on the issue, Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid said: “We have sent a proposal to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) for the appointment of three education board chairmen. The chairmen will be appointed as soon as the PMO sends us the approval.”
The positions of the chairman and the secretary in the Dhaka education board are considered to be of equivalent rank, but there are complaints that the current occupant of the position is an associate professor of economics.
Some also point out that the Dhaka board chairman is also the chairman of Inter-Education Board Coordination Subcommittee, due to his or her rank. However, Secretary Shahedul, who is handling the responsibility of the board chairman, is only an associate professor.
Responding to query, Shahedul told the correspondent: “I do not handle my own posting. I am just a government official, I go wherever I am posted.”
This article was first published on banglatribune.com