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MK Govt's Decision to Appoint Teachers on Consolidated Pay Irks Teachers’ Unions, Aspirants

The DMK government’s decision to appoint around 13,000 teachers on a contract basis has invited criticism as thousands of aspirants have been awaiting appointments after clearing the eligibility tests for the last ten years.
MK Govt's Decision to Appoint Teachers on Consolidated Pay Irks Teachers’ DUnions, Aspirants

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The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)-led government in Tamil Nadu has decided to appoint 13,331 teachers on contract with consolidated pay in state-run schools. The decision has come as a shock to many as the party promised to abolish contract employment during its election campaign.

The government has decided to appoint teachers in secondary grade, bachelor of teaching (BT) and postgraduate (PG) categories in schools run by the state. Wages for these three categories are fixed as Rs 7,500, Rs 10,000 and Rs 12,000, respectively. 

The decision to select the contract teachers through the school management committees (SMC) has been condemned as lakhs of prospective candidates are waiting for years to get an appointment after clearing the eligibility tests.

Several teachers’ associations have opposed the decision of the DMK government and claimed such a move would adversely affect the teaching-learning process, the fate of the aspiring teachers and society itself. 

The associations also drew parallels between the DMK regime and the previous All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) regime on resorting to stalling regular appointments in crucial sectors. 

WITHDRAW APPOINTMENT ON CONTRACT BASIS

The DMK government, in a recent move, has ordered to appoint 13,331 teachers in schools run by the government and urban local bodies on a contract basis for one academic year. 

At present, there are 4,989 vacancies for secondary grade teachers, 5,154 vacancies for BT assistants and 3,188 PG teachers in various government-run schools. The actual requirement of teachers has increased after the increase in admissions in government schools following the pandemic.

R Perumalsamy, president of Tamil Nadu Post Graduate Teachers’ Association (TNPGTA), said, “Appointing teachers on a contract basis with consolidated pay is highly condemnable and must be withdrawn immediately.”

Instead of filling up the vacancies through regular appointments, the DMK government has taken the easy route of contract appointments, contrary to their electoral promises made in 2021.

The party’s manifesto promised to consider part-time art, music and physical education teachers for permanent appointment. It also promised to regularise all contract workers across different departments for regular appointments.

“Despite all the promises, the government has resorted to contract appointments and not even with a time scale pay for the recruits. The previous and present governments cite financial strains for regular appointments, but the teachers' associations fear specific policy decisions behind such moves,” Perumalsamy said.

The decision to entrust the SMCs to recruit teachers on contract basis has also raised eyebrows. Tamil Nadu has a poor track record of forming and executing the SMCs as mandated by the Right to Education Act, 2009. 

These committees were reconstituted recently and have not proved their efficiency yet in performing the duties. Tamil Nadu Primary School Teachers’ Federation (TNPTF) raised doubts over the powers vested with the SMCs on appointments. 

“This move seems to be in line with the recommendations of the national education policy (NEP) of the union government. We strongly doubt if the government plans to hand over the day-to-day administration of the schools to SMCs in the future,” a statement of the federation said. 

LAKHS IN WAITING

The last time the government made teacher appointments were in 2012-13 in the second grade and BT categories, and in 2019-20 for PG teachers. The Teachers Eligibility Test (TET) and Teachers Recruitment Board (TRB) exams in the preceding years. 

“Exams were held later based on the vacancies, but those who have cleared the exams are yet to receive calls for appointments. The certificate verification for PG teachers was held but they too face a similar fate,” said S Mayil, general secretary of TNPTF.

The urgency shown in recruiting contract teachers has been questioned by the teachers’ associations. 

“The admission process has just started, and the number of vacancies is yet to be estimated considering the increasing number of students. While lakhs of fully qualified and competent aspirants are waiting for jobs, the government has resorted to contract appointments, which is a highly regressive measure,” said Perumalswamy.

The Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) also criticised the decision of the government for the move. “The government has claimed to have appointed teachers on contract considering the needs of the students. But this move is against the welfare of the students and the youth awaiting appointment,” a statement from the DYFI claimed.

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