The Cabinet secretariat has asked the education ministry to take necessary action against the Nganglam Central School admission committee for not taking their responsibility with due diligence while admitting students for class pre-primary (PP) for the academic year 2018.

Cabinet secretary Kinzang Wangdi said that the officials from Public Services & Grievances Redressal Division (PSGRD) with the Cabinet secretariat investigated and concluded that allegations filed through eKaaSel to the Prime Minister were valid.

“Except for one child, all other allegations of manipulating birth certificates of six students were found true and deprived of opportunities to those who submitted genuine certificates,” the cabinet secretary told Kuensel.

He said that the secretariat has verified birth certificates of alleged students with the civil registry services and found that birth years of six students were inflated. “However, the officials could not verify one student’s date of birth and family tree,” cabinet secretary Kinzang Wangdi said.

The investigation was carried out after Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay directed the Cabinet secretariat to look into the allegations filed by the parents of three children through eKaaSel on March 26. The online grievance redressal system- eKaaSel was launched on December 27 last year to streamline the grievance component of service delivery.

“We are yet to receive action taken report (ATR) from the education ministry,” he said.

In their complaint letter to the prime minister, three parents along with a witness stated that the admission committee comprised of five members including four teachers. The committee was alleged to have deprived the admission of 29 students from poor family background without following admission policy and notification issued by the school.

The school authority’s notification on November 6 last year stated that a child born on or before February 15, 2012 is eligible for PP admission. However, there were less number of children fulfilling the criteria and the school re-announced on December 1 that the last date of issuing admission form was December 9. Parents were asked to produce original documents during the time of interview.

They alleged that contrary to the notification, the committee issued forms for 13 students during the time of interview on December 11 although the last date for issuing admission forms was December 9. “This had given an opportunity to those students to submit their tampered documents,” they stated in their complaint letter.

Since some parents could not produce original documents during the time of interview, the committee had asked parents to submit the documents before December 16. Failing to do so would result in the admission being cancelled and the seat allocated to next child, based on merit. “We made an inquiry on December 16 regarding the admission and they told us that all original documents were submitted and admission closed for 2018 academic session,” the complaint stated.

They claimed that the committee made them go through the documents of those 92 students who were admitted. “While going through the documents, we crosschecked the documents of seven students that we have doubt on and concluded that their documents were manipulated,” the complaint letter stated. “We are also sure that there were more students but due to lack of cooperation from the committee, we could not ascertain it.”

Dissatisfied with the admission process and procedures, they approached the principal on February 27 this year to reconsider admission for their children. However, they received a lukewarm response from the principal and came to know that the committee members were allegedly trying to fill up their loopholes by tampering some documents.

Documents collected from the school revealed that the committee members had pre-informed or leaked information to other teachers to make fake documents within April. It’s alleged that three teachers manipulated date of birth of their children. “It is certain that committee members have violated admission ethics which is also against teacher’s code of conduct,” the investigation found.

The school authorities could not be contacted for comment.

Rinzin Wangchuk