Pension News Bangladesh: Money for 27 thousand teachers is pending

Nazrul Islam, an assistant teacher at Khanpur Dakhil Madrasa in Uttar Srirampur village, Narikelbaria Union, Bagharpara Upazila, Jessore, has served in the teaching profession for 35 years. He retired on June 21, 2020. Despite receiving 280,000 BDT from the welfare fund upon his retirement, he has not received any pension to date. Recently, his ailing wife passed away due to a lack of medical treatment, as he did not have sufficient funds for her care.

Similarly, Naeem Uddin Ahmed, the principal of Shakpur High School in Barura, Comilla, retired in 2021 and has yet to receive any pension. Currently battling terminal cancer, he has had to liquidate all his assets and savings to cover his expensive medical treatments. Two years have passed since his retirement, but Naeem Uddin has not received a single penny in pension.

This situation is not unique to teachers Nazrul Islam and Naeem Uddin. Over 27,000 retired teachers across the country face a harsh reality, struggling without their post-retirement benefits. Some have passed away, while others suffer in old age due to a lack of medical care. These educators, who have dedicated their lives to shaping future generations, now only ask for their due post-retirement benefits and pension.

Currently, there are approximately 30,000 MPO-listed educational institutions in Bangladesh, including secondary, higher secondary, technical, and madrasa institutions. These private educational institutions employ around 550,000 teachers and staff. Upon retirement, these teachers are supposed to receive financial benefits from the retirement board and the welfare trust as per government regulations. However, due to a funding shortfall, inadequate staff, and the lack of a dedicated office, the institution has been unable to provide timely services. Despite being in operation for three decades, the institution has yet to establish its own office. Nevertheless, since its inception, it has disbursed around 35 billion BDT to about 150,000 teachers.

The Private Educational Institution Teachers and Employees Welfare Trust states that approximately 27,000 teachers have applied for benefits from the welfare fund. The trust does not have the necessary funds to provide these benefits. To serve these teachers and staff efficiently, the trust needs over 60 personnel, but currently, it has only 17 regular and irregular staff members. Founded in 1990, the trust still lacks its own building or office infrastructure.

Every month, the trust receives about 520 to 530 million BDT from teachers and staff. However, the monthly financial requirement is between 600 and 640 million BDT, leading to an annual deficit of around 1.2 billion BDT. To address this shortfall, the trust has requested a special fund from the government. Previously, it received special allocations of 500 million BDT in 2016, 500 million BDT in 2017, 2.35 billion BDT in 2018, and 250 million BDT in 2019, totaling 3.6 billion BDT so far.

The trust attributes its ongoing financial crisis to changes in the teachers’ pay scale. According to the prevailing law, the trust is obligated to provide welfare benefits based on the last pay scale of MPO-listed teachers and staff. The financial strain intensified with a 62% salary increase in 2009 and a 100% increase in the national pay scale in 2015, further exacerbating the trust’s financial crisis.

JR Nayan

Leave a Comment