Set education free from ghosts

A media report says an investigation in Khyber Agency led to unearthing of a scam of recruitment of ghost teachers who have been receiving salaries aggregating to millions of rupees for last ten years. Their appointments were in connivance with senior officials of education department.
Apart from Khyber Agency, there have also been reports about presence of up to 1250 ghost schools in different parts of KPK. These reports suggest a steep rise in the number of ‘ghost schools’ – the schools that are functional only on paper, have buildings and facilities, but no students or teachers are actually taking part in the promotion of education. This is something un-understandable that ghost schools and teachers should exist in the presence of a comprehensive monitoring and vigilance system. Recruitment, maintenance of service record and release and disbursement of salaries of these ghost teachers requires involvement of dozens of officials and officers. Similarly, education departments also have inspectors who carry out physical monitoring of schools and teachers and it is strange that these teachers and schools could not be detected by them. All this leads one to surmise that there was colossal corruption in education department and none of the successive governments both at the centre and in the Provinces has succeeded in addressing the challenge. This is an era of IT and telecom as well as media proliferation and presence of such scams is highly lamentable. On the one hand we have scarce financial resources for promotion of education and what we have is being taken away by unscrupulous elements through corrupt means. A surgical operation should be carried out to identify all ghost schools and teachers, action taken against culprits as well as officials concerned and the money fraudulently received be retrieved.

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