Over 3,000 teachers surrender fake degrees in Bihar

For Insight Page/Fake degree story

One year after Nitish Kumar took over as Bihar Chief Minister in November 2005, there were large-scale appointments of around 2.5 lakh school teachers in the state. However, the process of recruitment was flawed as one had to show his or her mark sheet or degrees to become a teacher instead of the established rule of appearing and clearing a written examination.

As expected, a large number of fake degree holders from different universities (some of them unheard of) were appointed as teachers in different government schools in Bihar. When some media channels showed how an English teacher could not write even ‘Thursday’ or ‘Tuesday’ correctly, or a maths teacher couldn’t do basic calculations, a public interest litigation (PIL) was filed in the Patna High Court. The PIL was filed by an activist, Ranjit Pandit, alleging that more than 25,000 teachers in Bihar were working on the basis of forged mark sheets and fake degrees.

The matter was heard by the division bench of the High Court headed by Chief Justice L Narasimha Reddy and Justice Anjana Mishra. The court in 2015 ordered a vigilance probe and asked the investigating agency to weed out those with invalid degrees.

An embarrassed state government launched a “general amnesty” scheme wherein it proposed that those fake degree holders, who resigned on their own, would be spared from being punished under the rule of law.

“Around 3,000 teachers with invalid degrees have resigned on their own while the vigilance sleuths found another 353 teachers appointed on the basis of fake certificates or degrees,” Principal Advocate General Lalit Kishore informed the Patna High Court.

Such is the gigantic task of verifying the certificates or degrees of over 2.5 lakh teachers, that the vigilance probe is still on. In the meantime, the state government recently conducted a written test for these teachers (appointed on the basis of mark sheets) and cleared the appointments of 98.5% of teachers.

Education system in Bihar was always paralysed. “When Nitish regime came to power, nearly 331 degree colleges affiliated to different universities came under government scanner. These affiliated colleges were in addition to 250 constituent colleges in the state,” said a senior official of the Education Department, preferring anonymity.

The official added, “According to a Government survey, Bihar has barely six (genuine) colleges per one lakh population (18-23 age group), while the national average is 25.”

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