Disbursement process hampered by documentation issues
More than 50% of all non-monthly pay order (non-MPO) teachers and employees severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic are yet to receive one-time government aid due to mismatches in national identity (NID) numbers and other issues with documentation, according to government officials.
In May this year, the government allocated Tk74.81 crore as financial assistance under incentive packages from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for non-MPO teachers and employees to mitigate their hardships due to Covid-19.
According to the Finance Division, as many as 53,033 out of 124,742 teachers and staff members have each received Tk5,000 and Tk,2500, respectively, as grants through electronic fund transfers. Among the receivers, 37,849 are teachers and staff members of general educational institutions, 10,405 of independent Ibtedai madrasas, and 4,779 of technical and madrasa educational institutions.
A total of 71,709 non-MPO teachers and staff members are yet to receive the aid.
Ashraf Uddin, a teacher of Sonartari Nimno Maddhomik School in Khulna, said only three out of his 20 colleagues had received the cash aid, so far. He does not know why the others are yet to receive the grant, when they had all given proper mobile banking and NID card information.
Many of the teachers have sought help from the district education office, but they are yet to receive any response, he added.
Representatives of teachers’ associations also said it was unlikely that so many teachers and staff members would provide mistaken information.
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Non-MPO Education Institutions' Teachers and Employees Federation President Mahmudul Nabi Dollar said most of those who had not received cash assistance yet had submitted the mobile banking numbers of relatives instead of opening an account themselves in an attempt to get the money quickly.
The data on the teachers and staff members was compiled by deputy commissioner’s offices across the country.
When will they get the aid?
There is currently no timeline on when the remaining teachers and staff members will receive the cash aid that has been allocated for them.
Admitting that it is unclear when the problems with documentation for the aid process would be resolved, Secondary and Higher Education Division Secretary Md Mahbub Hossain said: “We have asked the Finance Division how the aid can be disbursed more easily.”
He further said teachers and staff members who had provided mistaken information were asked repeatedly to correct it but many of them did not do so, so the Finance Division was unable to disburse the funds.
“We do not yet know what the Ministry of Finance has decided on the issue of unpaid amounts. The Ministry of Education has also asked whether there is another way to disburse the aid,” he added, although stressing that the teachers and staff members should have submitted the proper information on time.
Tanima Tasmin, deputy secretary (Budget-2) at the Finance Division, said: “We want every individual to get the amount properly under the EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer) system. Those who submitted proper information have already got the amount, those who had discrepancies in the information have not gotten the money yet."
Bangladesh Teachers Association President Nazrul Islam Rony recommended that the funds be disbursed by cheque.
“There will not be any complaints of money not being received if the grants are paid by cheque, like last year,” he said.