SARLAHI, Aug 20: Muhammad Jabir Ulla of Malangwa-5 has visited the District Education Office, Sarlahi, at least ten times in a month. He needs to meet the District Education Officer (DEO) Badri Narayan Sharma to make certificate of his son, who just passed grade eight.
“Despite visiting the office for over 10 times, I have not been able to meet the DEO. Not just the DEO, there are hardly any officials to be seen in the office. This has given us a serious problem,” said Ulla, expressing utter disappointment.
Likewise Narendra Rai, principal of a local school in Sisauta, recently visited the district education office to discuss the release of his students. However, he was forced to return empty handed as there were no officials.
DEO Sharma has been working from Lalbandi municipality instead of his office. He has given various excuses, including monitoring of schools, visiting Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), and holding meeting with various stakeholders, for his prolonged absence from office.
Without the presence of the chief, other officials at the District Education Office have been visiting the office just for the purpose of attendance. They return home immediately after their attendance. Service seekers have expressed serious discontent after being unable to meet with officials even during office time.
Some employees informed that DEO Sharma demands the attendance sheet to be brought to his workplace at Lalbandi municipality. Sharma is not just absent from his office but he is out of reach. When Republica tried to contact him, his phone could not be reached.
“Sharma has packed all of his documents from the office. It has been over four months since he was last seen here,” said one of the employees at the district education office, under the condition of anonymity.
Kaushal Kishor Raya, chairman of Sarlahi chapter of Nepal Teachers Association, said normalcy in the education system has not been restored in the district since the Madhes agitation that hampered the children's studies for over six months.
“The utter negligence on part of the district education officer has seriously jeopardized children's future. This carelessness is not acceptable,” added Raya.
Another excuse DEO Sharma has given for not staying in office is security issue. However, c (DSP) Uttam Raj Kafle said the DEO refused to stay in office despite the assurance of providing security personnel for his protection.