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30 Jun 2018

GTA bid to streamline teacher recruitment

Vivek Chhetri, Jun 29, 2018,  Darjeeling: The Gorkhaland Territorial Administration has directed government schools in the hills not to recruit any new "voluntary teachers", saying the list of claimants has become "unending".

Voluntary teachers are those appointed by the managing committee and heads of educational institutions, purportedly to meet shortages. The notice issued by GTA's education department, however, states: "During scrutiny it came to notice of the authority that, in many cases the unauthorisedly engaged candidates do not possess requisite qualification either; or were whimsically introduced on violation of earlier order...."

Amar Rai, the GTA board member in charge of education, said: "On November 14, 2017, there were 744 voluntary teachers in the secondary and higher secondary schools. The state government recruited 439 voluntary teachers early this year. The scrutiny of another 271 voluntary teachers has also been done."

However, now more teachers are claming that they have been left out as the managing committee and the headmaster did not forward their names. "Some are genuine cases but the list seems unending," said Rai.

Voluntary teachers, as the name suggests, are not paid, or are paid nominal amounts depending on the funds the schools concerned can collect. There are instances of voluntary teachers working this way for nearly two decades.

There are 774 primary schools, six junior high schools (till Class VIII), 52 junior high schools (up to Class X), and 71 higher secondary schools. Primary schools in the hills face similar problems.

"There are nearly 400-odd voluntary teachers in the hills. In 2015, the state government had issued a notice to GTA to recruit 565 teachers on the basis of new recruitment rules. There was some delay in framing the rules but after it was submitted not much progress has been made," said Rai.

Tshering Dahal, chairperson of the District School Board, said: "The number of vacancies in the primary schools is now 882 and we find that recruitment was last done in 2002. We are pressing for filling up these vacant posts through an open interview so that all deserving candidates get an opportunity for a job."

One of the major reasons for appointment of voluntary teachers is that the School Service Commission (SSC) set up for the hills was shut down in 2002 due to opposition from Subash Ghisingh, the chairman of the erstwhile DGHC. Ghisingh did not want such a panel in the hills.

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