The long wait for thousands of teachers and employees of non-government educational institutions for MPO is likely to be over soon, as the government has decided to allocate Tk 1,150 crore for the pur-pose.
The allocation in the upcoming budget will bring 2,000 educational institutions under the monthly payment order (MPO) scheme.
A third of these institutions is schools and colleges while the rest 500 are technical and vocational institu-tions, officials said.
Of the fund, schools and colleges will get Tk 860 crore and Tk 290 crore will go to vocational institutions, they said.
“We have completed the necessary preparations in this regard,” said an education ministry official.
Expansion of technical and vocational education is a top priority for the government because it creates skilled manpower. This is why these institutions are getting a separate allocation, he added.
In 2018-19, the government had set aside Tk 500 crore for new MPO, but the fund could not be used because of the election as well as other issues.
The MPO is the government’s share in the payroll of non-government educational institutions. Under the scheme, non-government teachers get their basic pays as well as some monthly allowances from the public fund.
Currently, more than 4 lakh teachers and employees of 26,340 secondary schools, colleges, madrasas and technical institutes enjoy the benefit.
The BNP government had suspended the scheme in its 2001-06 tenure.
In 2010, the AL government had reinstated it, bringing 1,624 more institutions under the scheme. But since then, no more new institutions got the benefit.
The then Finance Minister AMA Muhith, a major critic of the system, slammed the education ministry on many occasions for not reforming the MPO policy despite his insistence.
“The MPO scheme is a bad policy. I wanted it reformed, but it did not happen. This is why I stopped giv-ing MPOs,” he said in January last year.
According to him, the scheme benefits only the teachers, and not the education system as a whole.
Citing an example, he had said that during a visit to a primary school he once found five teachers teach-ing students of different classes in a single room.
Several thousand teachers and employees of government-recognised educational institutions have been demanding MPO for long.
They held demonstrations and observed hunger strikes in the capital to press home their demand.
Many lawmakers also raised the demand in parliament before every budget.
There are 5,242 non-MPO educational institutions where around 80,000 teachers are working without any pay, some for more than a decade, according non-MPO Shikhya Pratishthan Shikhyak Karmachari Fed-eration.
Many of them earn their living by private tuition or other part-time work.
Following days-long demonstrations by teachers, the government initiated the process of listing new in-stitutions last year.
The education ministry announced “Manpower Structure and MPO Policy-2018” on June 12 last year, set-ting four new criteria for getting MPO.
They include the number examinees and the pass rate.
Then in August, the education ministry sought online applications from educational institutions, and 9,600 applied.
The ministry finalised the list of 2,000 institutions after the December 30 election and then wrote to the finance ministry, seeking funds.
“Definitely it’s good news for teachers,” Binoy Bhushan Roy, general secretary of non-MPO Shikhya Pratishthan Shikhyak Karmachari Federation, said of the government decision.
But he demanded that the government bring all the 5,242 non-MPO institutions under the scheme.
“There are many teachers who have continued teaching without any salary for over a decade. So we will not accept if some institutions get the benefit while some do not…. We will go for a movement,” he said.