Harassment of students: Education minister directs probe against invigilator

Parents of students urge naval chief to improve situation at college

Our Correspondent June 01, 2018
Education minister directs probe against invigilator. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: A day after the two federal departments, responsible for education in the city, launched inquiries into an external invigilator who is accused of sexually harassing and molesting several female students during the recently concluded biology practical exams, the federal education minister took notice of the matter.

On his last official day in office, Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training Balighur Rehman directed the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (FBISE) to launch an inquiry into the incident and blacklist the accused teacher.

A statement issued by Rehman’s office on Thursday read that the federal minister had also asked the Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) to immediately suspend the accused teacher.

Earlier this week, several students who sat the practical exams over three days at Bahria College alleged in viral social media posts that they had been harassed and molested by an external invigilator deputed by the FBISE to conduct the exam. Following the uproar, the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) and the FBISE launched inquiries into the matter while CADD was requested to suspend the teacher.

Invigilator accused of harassing 'over 80 female students' at Bahria College

Angry parents

Parents of Bahria College’s students have written to the Naval chief to complain about the incident and the weak administration of the school.

“This unfortunate incident has, however, brought to light the weakness of the local administration of the school,” the parents wrote in an open letter to the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi.

“Through this platform we wish to urge you to personally investigate the facts of how events unfolded that fateful day,” they said, adding, that they remain ill at ease with entrusting their children to callous teachers who prefer to brush extraordinary complaints of students under the mat for a better score.

Invigilator accused of harassing 'over 80 female students' at Bahria College

While demanding to know why immediate action was not taken against the invigilator when the complaints were made, they also presented a list of six demands.

These include that no outside examiners be left alone with students in the future.

“Schools own teachers (minimum one) has to be present at all times in the examination room (whether it is theoretical or practical),” the parents demanded, “School administration should coordinate for a mix of both male and female invigilators to be appointed.”

Moreover, they demanded that students must be encouraged to come forward with complaints without fear of being rebuked while teachers should be trained to provide the appropriate first response.

The parents also demanded the resignation of the school’s principal, vice principal and the teacher responsible while a ranking officer should be appointed as the principal. 

Published in The Express Tribune, June 1st, 2018.


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