ISLAMABAD: The two top education bodies in the capital Wednesday launched separate inquiries, forming committees in their respective organisations, to probe allegations of sexual harassment and molestation levelled by intermediate students against an external invigilator.
According to preliminary probes by both the organisations, the accused has been accused of similar allegations in the past as well but was not punished owing to ‘lack of sufficient evidence’.
Allegations against the external invigilator — who was overseeing biology practicals as part of the final exams of the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (FBISE) at Bahria College in Sector E-8 from May 24 to May 27 — emerged on social media earlier this week where several students, who had appeared for the exam, accusing the teacher of sexual harassment, molestation and coercion.
The examiner, who is a biology lecturer at Islamabad Model College for Boys (IMCG) situated across the city, had been deputed there by the FBISEto invigilate the exam.
Some past students also posted their testimonies from the time he was deputed at a school in Westridge to invigilate exams and was found harassing students.
The Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) Director General Hasnat Qureshi confirmed that in 2014 a complaint had been received against the teacher but the inquiry had exonerated him owing to lack of substantial evidence.
However, a fresh inquiry panel has been constituted, comprising two college principals — including a female — to probe the issue and with directions to submit its report within a week.
If the inquiry proves the allegations, Qureshi said that the directorate could recommend criminal proceedings against him.
Moreover, Qureshi said that the directorate has already written to the Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) to suspend the teacher. He explained that the teacher was a basic pay scale (BPS) 17 officer and that CADD was the competent authority to suspend him.
The FDE chief clarified that while the teacher in question was an employee of the Directorate, the FBISE is responsible for assigning invigilators to schools and colleges.
“He should not have been sent to a girls’ college for invigilation,” the FDE chief maintained.
Meanwhile, the FBISEhas constituted its own investigation committee which will be headed by Controller Examination Fatima Tahira along with two board members.
The committee visited the college on Wednesday and demanded an explanation from the accused teacher.
Board officials too confirmed that similar complaints had been lodged against the same teacher in the past. They added that due process had been followed at the time.
Meanwhile, in a video statement, the teacher rejected allegations against him. Instead, he alleged that whenever he has been deputed to posh schools, they pressurise him to award full marks to their students.
“I checked the performance of students and conducted the exam as per rules. Those who did not perform, I did not sign their copies,” the teacher said.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 31st, 2018.