- Devices were sources at prices higher than market prices
- Sourced from a handpicked supplier
- Disregarding govt directive, biometric attendance devices were purchased for 227 primary schools in Hatiya last year
- Teachers say they were sort of forced to purchase the devices under pressure from primary education officials, UNO and Upazila Parishad chairman
Almost 90% of biometric attendance devices, installed in schools across nine upazilas of Noakhali district, have gone out of order while the rest have remained unused, resulting in a huge chunk of government funds being wasted.
According to sources, the devices were purchased at higher than market prices. The Directorate of Primary Education office in the district is unwilling to take any responsibility for the situation while the Deputy Commissioner has said he will look into the matter.
According to government directives, the biometric attendance devices were hastily purchased and installed at over 800 primary schools, beginning from 2018 to 2019. Later in the beginning of 2020, the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education issued another directive on not purchasing digital attendance devices. In disregard of that decision, biometric attendance devices were purchased for 227 primary schools in Hatiya last year.
The devices were purchased at prices ranging from Tk17,500 to Tk21,250.
Teachers say they were forced to purchase the devices under pressure from primary education officials, UNO and Upazila Parishad chairman. On top of it, the devices were sourced from their handpicked supplier.
They added that in 2019 some unscrupulous officials got involved in corruption during the purchase process. When the matter came to the attention of the authority, a letter signed by the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education Director (Planning and Development) Md Badiar Rahman ordered a stop to the purchase of digital attendance devices.
District primary education official Md Saidul Islam said, "According to the ministry's directive, money spent in the purchases has been returned to some schools."
Deputy Commissioner Dewan Mahbubur Rahman said he will enquire into which machines are currently functional as well as dysfunctional, and will take necessary steps accordingly.