State to serve notice to PMC for breaching RTE recruitment norms

Move follows MNS leader Ajay Shinde’s objections to the PMC’s attempt to recruit teachers who haven’t cleared the Teachers’ Eligibility Test

The day mid-day reported that the PMC’s ongoing drive to recruit 100 teachers had raised eyebrows in the MNS for ignoring the terms of the Right To Education (RTE) Act (PMC’s teacher recruitment drive flouts RTE norms: MNS, August 25), it emerged that the state education department has decided to serve an immediate notice to the corporation.

The education department office in Shivaji Nagar
The education department office in Shivaji Nagar.  Education Commissioner S Chockalingam pointed out that the RTE is a Central Act, and therefore applied to the PMC and its education board as well, making their recruitment drive a violation of the Act

A week ago, the PMC held walk-in interviews to fill 100 teaching posts for a temporary period of six months. While the PMC began the recruitment drive to cope with an urgent shortage of teachers at its 52 English medium schools, MNS’s city vice-president Ajay Shinde pointed out on Sunday that the PMC had ignored RTE norms, which state that only teachers who have cleared the Teachers’ Eligibility Test (TET) can be hired.

mid-day’s report on August 25
Mid-day’s report on August 25

Taking cognisance of the PMC’s disregard for this essential condition, state Education Commissioner S Chockalingam had asked the Education Director (primary) Mahaveer Mane to serve a notice asking the corporation to either stay the recruitment process or follow the qualification criteria for teachers directed under the RTE.

“According to RTE, no one without the minimum qualifications, including TET, can teach in primary schools. So if PMC is conducting recruitment without following this norm, they are creating a big problem for themselves. This is a clear violation of the RTE,” Chockalingam said.

Earlier, when mid-day had questioned Shivaji Daundkar, the PMC education board chief, about the issue, she had said that they were conducting the drive under the authority of the municipal commissioner. However, Chockalingam said, “Being a central act, RTE is applicable across all jurisdictions – be it corporations or any other private or public entity. So PMC has to ensure that every teacher they appoint is TET-qualified.”

Education Director Mane said he will serve the notice to PMC commissioner Kunal Kumar on Tuesday, and will also seek an explanation from Daundkar about the major lapse. Interestingly, until MNS leader Shinde met Mane on Sunday to discuss the issue, the education department was completely unaware of the recruitment drive, even though the PMC had already interviewed 450 candidates.

“Last month, I had received a letter from the former PMC commissioner, Vikas Deshmukh, regarding the recruitment of 100 primary teachers.At that time we had asked them to accommodate the surplus 125 teachers from the Pune Zilla Parishad. I don’t know how they are doing this,” said Chokalingam, adding that if the PMC continued the drive without following regulations, several penalties would be imposed.

Meanwhile, it has become clear that the thousands of students enrolled at PMC’s English medium schools will be the ones left high and dry in this conflict.

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