The nine-year wait of thousands of teachers and employees of non-government educational institutions for their inclusion into the Monthly Payment Order (MPO) has come to an end as the government has brought 2,730 institutions under the facilities.
However, teachers and staff expressed their dissatisfaction as the list did not include all the 5,242 non-MPO institutions across the country, which include schools, colleges, madrasas and technical educational institutions.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina unveiled the names of institutions receiving the MPO status at the Ganobhaban where she declared the scheme would take retrospective effect from July this fiscal year.
The government gave MPO facilities to 1,622 educational institutions in 2010.
Of the newly-enlisted 2,730 institutions, 1,502 are schools, 149 colleges, 557 madrasas and 522 are technical educational institutions. A total of 6,141 institutions applied for getting the MPO following the MPO Policy, 2018.
MPO is the government's share in the payroll of the non-government educational institutions. Under the scheme, the government gives 100 percent basic salaries to the teachers of non-government schools. The teachers also get a lump sum amount as other allowances from the MPO.
As per rules, the educational institutions first come under MPO facilities and then the government enlists the teachers in the payroll.
Currently, more than four lakh teachers and employees of 26,340 secondary schools, colleges, madrasas and technical institutes are enjoying the benefit.
"However, we are not happy as 70 percent of the non-MPO teachers will be left out of the benefit," said Golam Mahmudunnabi Dollar, president of the Non-MPO Educational Institutions Teachers Employees Federation.
The association launched a hunger strike unto death on Monday, demanding inclusion of about 80,000 non-MPO teachers and staff across the country into the government payroll.
Later, they called off the programme on Tuesday after they met Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni who assured the association of forming a new committee within November 14 to amend the MPO policy and include more institutions on the list, Mahmudunnabi said.
According to an education ministry source, total Tk1,147 crore has been allocated for the MPO scheme in 2019-20 fiscal year.
In 2018-19, the government had set aside Tk500 crore for new MPO, but the fund could not be used because of the 11th national election as well as other issues.
Eminent educationist Prof Serajul Islam Chowdhury said the government should allocate more money for the MPO service as many institutions have been left out and the teachers are not happy.
"The education sector requires at least 25 percent allocation from the national budget and four percent of the Gross Domestic Product. But our government allocates more money for unproductive sectors like bureaucracy, defence etc," he added.
MPO will be cancelled if institution's quality falls
While announcing the names of the institutions, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina warned of cancelling the MPO status of them if they fall short of maintaining quality.
"You have been brought under the MPO scheme as you have fulfilled the guidelines as per the policy. So, it is now your responsibility to retain these guidelines," reports BSS.
"If any institution fails to maintain these guidelines, its MPO will be cancelled immediately," the premier warned.
Sheikh Hasina also directed the newly-enlisted educational institutions to maintain quality of education.
What is the MPO Policy?
To get the non-government educational institutions included in the MPO list, the regulations were developed first in 1995, which was further revised in 2010 and 2013 respectively.
After a suspension of six years by the then BNP-led alliance government, the Awami League-led government revived the MPO facility in 2010, as per its electoral pledge, and enlisted 1,624 private secondary and higher secondary schools and colleges in the MPO scheme.
The latest revision has been made on 14 June 2018 in response to the non-government teachers' threat to go on "fast unto death strike".
MPO rules, 2018 say that, to get an MPO, educational institutions have to apply first which will be checked, rechecked and evaluated on the basis of the number of students during schools' recognition, number of examinees and the number of successfully passed students.