Education minister advises school inspectors to take bribe at ‘tolerable limits’

Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid has asked the school inspectors to take bribe at ‘tolerable limits'.

Published : 24 Dec 2017, 06:23 PM
Updated : 24 Dec 2017, 08:08 PM

His 'word of advice' came on Sunday when he was distributing laptops among the officials at the Directorate of Inspection and Audit or DIA at the Shikkha Bhaban.

Nurul Islam Nahid

The DIA officials inspect some 36,000 education institutions and submit reports based on which the government takes policy decisions.

"Envelopes are ready at school. When you go to school for inspections they slip the envelope into your hands. You then come back after a sumptuous meal. Finally, you submit a report - everything is fine," he told the officials about their work patterns.

At one stage of his speech, he advised the education officials to 'take bribe at a reasonable level.'

"For god’s sake do some good work (for the education sector). My request to you is that you take bribe, but keep it at a tolerable level. It won’t work if I tell you not to take bribe," Nahid added.

Nahid, a former leader of the Communist Party of Bangladesh, also spoke about the bribery menace plaguing the country.

“It's (bribery) prevalent in different places; in fact, it's prevalent everywhere. Not only are the officials thieves, but ministers, and I myself, also fall in the same category. It's turning out to be the norm of the world, but we will have to change it,” he said.  

He claimed corruption has dropped during the Awami League government’s tenure because of the digitisation of different departments and process of work.

Nahid earlier warned the DIA officials against bribery at the inauguration of online public hearing in 36,000 schools on Aug 2.

At the programme, he had admitted that inspectors were ‘still taking bribes from schools’.

“Those who are taking bribes – please, leave the profession as long as you have some honour. And, those working well with reputation will be awarded,” he had added.

Secondary and Higher Education Secretary Sohrab Hossain had said at the programme: “The people you (DIA) are sending to the educational institutions are demanding money from the school authorities.”

He had said many of the institutions ‘enthusiastically’ paid bribe to conceal their irregularities and shortcomings.

“But the days have changed. Now, everything has been automated,” he had added.

After a video of the education minister’s speech at Sunday’s event suggesting that his cabinet colleagues are corrupt went viral on the internet, the ministry said later in the night: “Confusion has arisen due to the publication of part of the minister’s speech.”

An official of the ministry told “Actually, the minister described the condition of the Education Engineering Department and DIA after the Awami League had taken charge in the previous term.”

”At one stage of his speech, he said the situation had been so bad that he had to tell the officials to take bribes at tolerable limits. Now the situation has changed. The EED’s image has improved, but DIA’s image hasn’t much,” the official said.

He also said the minister described in his speech how the ministry had helped the Anti-Corruption Commission catch a DIA official with bribes three months ago.

Nahid neither took calls nor did he respond to text messages from requesting his comments.

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Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher