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Union slams Maharashtra govt affidavit on aspiring teachers’ hiring freeze

Updated on: 09 November,2022 08:02 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Vinod Kumar Menon |

The affidavit says 253 candidates need to take skill test even though BMC has relaxed English-medium rule

Union slams Maharashtra govt affidavit on aspiring teachers’ hiring freeze

Maharashtra Students Union members with Chief Minister Eknath Shinde

The Maharashtra Students Union (MASU) and the advocate representing it before the apex court has punctured holes in the affidavit submitted by deputy education officer Sandeep Sangave on behalf of the state of Maharashtra in the matter of the BMC freezing the recruitment of 253 teachers to civic primary and secondary schools, as the candidates had not done their schooling in English medium. MASU stated that the 191-page affidavit shows the right hand of the government doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.

The young job aspirants—who were willing to work as probationary assistant school teachers in primary and secondary civic-run schools in Mumbai—were rejected by the BMC education department in 2019. MASU earlier this year met with Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, who directed civic chief Iqbal Singh Chahal to intervene, but when all efforts failed, the MASU moved the Supreme Court.

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mid-day, in its article ‘Hope floats for aspiring teachers’ dated August 23, highlighted the plight of the candidates. Another article, ‘Why delay hiring primary teachers for BMC schools?’ dated August 27, quoted MASU as saying that despite BMC officials saying they got approval from the state government, formal appointment letters were yet to be sent, leaving candidates in the lurch.

Advocate Siddharth Ingle, founder-president of MASU, said, “It is clear from the points mentioned in the affidavit that the state government is confused. They are saying that they have only recommended that the selection authority rest with the BMC. On the other hand, they are suggesting to the BMC that it should change its arbitrary rule that entire education should be through the English medium, which is taking away the constitutional rights of the candidates.”

“The government has the power to change or relax the National Council for Teacher Education rules, so why can’t it do so for the rules of the BMC? This means that the government does not have the mentality to accommodate these candidates,” he added.

“Maharashtra, in its affidavit, clearly states that upon the direction of the chief secretary, the condition of having the entire education in English medium had been relaxed for the 253 candidates by the BMC. On September 29, 2022, the commissioner of education sent a list of the candidates to the BMC, informing it to take the necessary steps regarding their absorption, and the process of selection of these candidates is going on with the BMC,” said Advocate Mohini Priya,  who is representing the aspiring teachers.

“However, taking a self-contradictory stand, the state government in its affidavit also mentions that the candidates will have to appear for a skill test conducted by the BMC to teach in Mumbai Public Schools. There seems to be no rationale for putting these successful candidates through a skill test when the conditions have already been relaxed by the BMC. This is a case of ‘one step forward and two steps backwards’. There seems to be a lack of broader vision especially when there are so many vacancies for teachers in the public education system,” she said.

“These aspirants had cleared the state-conducted Maharashtra Teacher Aptitude and Intelligence Test (MahaTAIT), as part of the selection process for filling 12,000 vacancies in various schools across Maharashtra, and 253 candidates were among those who had opted for BMC-run schools as their choice preference,” said Ingle, who led the delegation to meet the CM and the civic chief subsequently.

“Despite passing MahaTAIT, the BMC  disqualified 253 qualified candidates just because their primary education was done in either Marathi or a vernacular medium. We gave sufficient time to the state government and the BMC, but they were only buying time and we had no option but to move the apex court,” said Ingle. The matter will come up for hearing soon. The BMC is yet to file its reply, said Mohini Priya.

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