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PMC's teacher recruitment drive flouts RTE norms: MNS

While the PMC attempts to resolve the acute shortage of teachers in its schools, the MNS leader says only those who have cleared the TET should be hired

After dragging its feet for two years, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has at last initiated a recruitment drive to hire as many as 100 teachers for its 52 English medium primary schools. However, it looks like this much-needed and awaited decision could face yet another stumbling block, with the MNS alleging that the recruitment process is flouting the terms of the Right To Education (RTE) Act.

Classroom
With as many as 53 schools falling short on teachers, thousands of students will suffer if the recruitment is pushed any longer. Representation pic/Thinkstock

Earlier in the year, mid-day had reported that though 3,000 new students had enrolled in PMC-run English medium, schools, the number of teachers had not risen in the past two years (3,000 new students, but PMC waits for approval to recruit 100 teachers, July 4). It was revealed that at least 100 additional teachers would have to be hired to provide adequate teaching services across the 52 schools.

mid-day’s report on July 4
Mid-day’s report on July 4

In an advertisement published on August 12, the PMC Education Board called candidates for a walk-in interview on August 19 to fill up 100 teaching posts for a temporary period of six months. In a promising start, around 450 candidates appeared for the interview. However, the MNS’ city vice-president, Ajay Shinde, has now raised objections to the process that the PMC is following for recruitment.

“According to RTE and the state government’s GR on August 23, 2013, PMC should have called only candidates who have cleared the newly introduced Teachers Eligibility Test (TET). But, PMC did not even consider this mandatory norm before conducting interviews, making the procedure illegal,” Shinde said.

He added, “Before initiating recruitment, PMC should have first communicated with the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) to get a list of candidates who had cleared TET across the state.” PMC officials, on the other hand, said that their decision was based on the urgency of the need for additional teachers, and the fact that they are only being recruited for a
temporary period.

Shivaji Daundkar, PMC’s education board chief, said, “Under clause 56 of the Maharashtra Municipal Corporation Act, the commissioner of the corporation has the authority to conduct such teachers’ recruitments. As we are recruiting teachers on an urgent basis and that, too, for a short period of six months, we have not restricted our search to candidates who have cleared the TET.”

But the MNS is not buying the PMC’s argument, and has questioned why the teachers are being hired on temporary basis at all. “PMC should answer why it is recruiting teachers for only six months, when it will not even cover the ongoing academic year. Why is the civic body not appointing teachers for long tenures or on permanent basis?” Shinde asked.

It should be noted that the state government had placed a blanket ban on any fresh recruitment in government schools in June, 2012. “Permanent recruitment will require a long procedure and it cannot be done before the proposal gets approved at various decision-making bodies of the PMC. Hence, to ensure students do not suffer due to the lack of teachers, we have decided to hire teachers temporarily,” Daundkar said.

She added further, “We have taken prior permission of the state government before initiating the ongoing drive. We have also ensured that the candidates have completed their education, including a Diploma in Education (DEd). So, we are not breaching
any rules.”

Deciding moment

The PMC has scheduled a general body (GB) meeting for today, which will be the last GB before the model code of conduct will come into effect for the approaching state assembly elections. If MNS corporators object to the teachers’ recruitment drive in the meeting and the PMC stays the process, thousands of students will suffer from the acute shortage of teachers.

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