Teachers who go missing abroad | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 13, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 13, 2008


Teachers who go missing abroad

Such conduct is patently unethical

IN a civilised society, it is the teaching community from which flow the high ideals that people aspire to. Unfortunately, given what has lately been happening regarding the conduct of a section of teachers at Dhaka University, we are constrained to say that some in the teaching community have disappointed us beyond measure. The other day the authorities of Dhaka University took the action of dismissing twelve teachers from service because they have overstayed their periods of higher studies abroad and indeed did not deign to inform their parent organisation of their plans. It is a situation we have gone through before and yet our surprise at teachers doing such disservice to themselves and to their students and institutions remains.
It is shocking that in recent years, a very large number of DU teachers, having finished their higher studies abroad, have failed to come back home. It is a situation that is not to be found elsewhere across the globe. When these teachers did not return home and instead found avenues of continuing their stay abroad, they simply threw to the winds the moral principles upon which we expect the teaching community to work. The fact that it was their responsibility to return to DU, from where they continued to draw their salaries in all the time they have been away, did not seem to upset them at all. Just how painful, for us, the situation is can be gauged from the fact that altogether 96 teachers now abroad simply cannot be traced. Which is why the Dhaka University authorities have now been compelled to post their names on the website in the expectation that they will respond. The question, though, is whether such action will have any effect on their behaviour. In the recent past, as much as Taka 54,00,000 was deposited in the DU treasury by missing teachers (who had gone on drawing their salaries and other benefits) only after the university authorities warned them of penalties should they not cough up the money.
It is time for Dhaka University and all other public universities to rethink the entire process of what needs to be done about teachers who go abroad and then fail to return home. Obviously, recovering their undeserved salaries and dismissing them are some of the ways to deal with the malaise. But might there not be room for legal action considering that fugitive teachers are actually engaging in a breach of contract?

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