Delhi government has decided to sanction another 9,623 teaching posts in it schools. The decision that, once implemented, will cost the government about Rs.540 crore per year has been cleared by the cabinet. The government has decided also to bring in EdCIL – Educaton Consultants India Limited – to conduct the recruitment test for teachers online and will allow a “one-time” age-relaxation to guest and contract teachers. This group will also get “additional weightage” for teaching experience.
This addition will increase the total strength of teaching staff in government schools – Padmini Singla, director, education informs it is currently at about 54,000 – and ease at least some of the pressure on current teachers, guest or permanent. “This major decision will help in achieving the desired level of teacher-pupil ratio as per the Right to Education Act 2009,” says a statement issued by the government. Many RTE activists and educationists have cited the massive number of students per teacher in government schools as one of the reasons for the failure of implementation of both continuous comprehensive evaluation (CCE) and the provisions of the Right to Education Act 2009. Educationists have also pointed out that high PTR is also the reason for poor learning outcomes that, in turn, has led the government to strike down non-detention policy.
The change in primary classes, to which the RTE Act is applicable, will not be immediate. The largest chunk of newly-sanctioned posts – 4,940 — has gone to the post-graduate teacher (or PGT) rank. They teach grades 11 and 12 and an increase in their number will not impact primary classes (Grades I to VIII) where RTE Act is applicable.
However, the second largest set – 2,933 posts of trained graduate teacher (TGT) – will have impact. “TGTs teach classes VI to X. And that is where the maximum pressure is,” observes C P Singh, president, Government School Teachers’ Association, adding, “They should have sanctioned more for TGTs and less for PGTs. And they don’t seem to have sanctioned any new PRT (primary teacher) posts. This group teaches Classes I to V in the Sarvodaya Schools.” Regular government schools start at Grade VI, taking children from municipal schools. Only the Sarvodaya schools of Delhi Government start at nursery. The other posts being created are of principal (25), vice-principal (365), physical education teacher (860), drawing teacher (256), librarian (38) and laboratory assistant.
Interestingly, the recruitment into these posts will not be through tests conducted by the Delhi Subordinate Staff Selection Board. The DSSSB papers have been frequently leaked and it has even been accused of cribbing questions from guide books. This time, the government is entrusting the examination to EdCIL that will conduct the exam online. Education minister, Manish Sisodia even observed in a tweet that this government body has been picked for its “proven track record”. The government statement says EdCIL has been brought in “to expedite the recruitment process and conduct it in a transparent manner with complete professionalism.” “The online recruitment test will be held in the institutions/colleges having sufficient number of functional computer systems and necessary supporting infrastructure,” it adds.
The government is also allowing a “one-time age relaxation” for serving guest and contract teachers and will also accommodate a long-standing demand of GSTA that the guest teachers’ experience be acknowledged. Sisodia’s tweet says guest and contract teachers will be given 0.75% of the maximum marks as “additional weightage” for every academic year of service. “We have demanded this for very long. It will help the thousands of guest and contract teachers,” says Singh. “The chief minister had… suggested that candidates who worked as guest teachers and contract teachers of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan (SSA) in the previous years may be given age relaxation and weightage marks as a onetime measure by linking to the years of service rendered by them with appropriate conditions,” says the government’s statement.