New Delhi: The crisis of pending appointments of over 4,000 teachers of Municipal Corporations of Delhi, ruled by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), remained unresolved till Monday, with the sit-in protest by the teachers in front of the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) office entered the seventh day.
The latest round of protests was triggered after a Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) order asking the Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board (DSSSB), the nodal agency to conduct the recruitment examinations for Delhi Government, to rationalise the results over alleged irregularities in the question papers.
Following the order, all three MCDs i.e. EDMC, South Delhi Municipal Corporation and North Delhi Municipal Corporation stalled the process of appointment a day before it was scheduled to conclude on October 15 this month.
Meanwhile, a Division Bench of Delhi High Court today permitted DSSSB-recruited 4000 primary teachers for MCD schools to join duties, but subject to final outcome of writ petition filed by Delhi government and DSSSB
The appointments were expected to relieve the pressure from MCD schools that are reeling under huge shortage of teachers. Approximately 2000, 989, and 1,200 posts are lying vacant in schools under the East, South and North DMC, respectively, which are currently held by contract teachers.
Following a slew of cases filed by the several rights activists over lack of teachers, three MCDs began their recruitment process in 2017. However, the question paper for the said exam was leaked. The DSSSB, after the embarrassing episode, conducted the exams in three phases.
The applicants have alleged that a few questions were repeated in each question paper giving an advantage to applicants appearing in the second and third phases. They demanded rationalisation of marks in the final results. However, candidates appearing in first phase say that their marks should not be rationalised, as they were first to appear in the examination and could not take undue benefit. But DSSSB did not appear convinced and rationalised marks of all candidates. The aggrieved applicants approached the CAT and sought a stay.
‘Punished for No Fault of Ours’
The protesting teachers argue that they were being punished for no fault of theirs.
Pravesh (26), a resident of Bawana, recalls the moment when he received the call letter from MCD for the post of primary teacher. Talking to NewsClick, he said he was already working in Indian Railways. He was directed to join after resigning from the previous post.
”I have already resigned from Railways. I decided to join this post as the working conditions were more favourable. Now, the suspension of appointments has left us on the roads,” he said.
Amit and Sangeeta, a newly-wed couple, share a similar story. While Amit worked as a sub-inspector in Delhi Police, Sangeeta was teaching in a Central School but was stationed outside state. Now, both regret the decision of quitting their previous jobs.
”We worked hard for 1.5 years to get this job. Since we both are jobless today, we do not know about our future,” Amit said.
However, the candidates said that the North MCD had given appointment letters to its teachers.
Ashok Agarwal, an education activist, said the MCDs must resume the appointments as the order by CAT does not bar them from appointing the teachers. “The order asked the DSSSB to revise the results individually. Thus, MCDs are interpreting it incorrectly. If they do not resume the appointments, I will challenge the matter in Delhi High Court, ” he said.
How Education Suffered in MCD Schools
The condition of MCD schools remains in a deplorable condition where over a lakh students are compelled to take classes on floors. NewsClick had earlier reported that almost 40,000 students were forced to sit on floors in the absence of benches in North Delhi Municipal Corporation alone.
MCD schools have also been infamous for high drop-out rates. Praja Foundation, a non-profit organisation, in its report on ‘State of Education in Delhi’ stated that 6% of the enrolled students leave MCD schools before Class 6 due to various reasons.
Overall, 2,52,952 students have opted out of civic body schools in last seven years. A study by Praja Foundation suggests consistently low enrolment. MCD schools had 3,47,450 students in 2013-14, which came down to 3,09,724 students in 2016-17. The foundation estimates that a total of 2,34,745 students are studying in 2019-20 in schools run by North MCD.
The report read, "On an average, from the three Municipal Corporations, in the last three years (2014- 15 to 2016-17), East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) has witnessed the maximum dropout followed by North Delhi Municipal Corporation." It further stated that 18,860 students dropped out of North MCD schools in 2016-17.
The Right to Education Act 2009 had prescribed that student-teacher ratio should not exceed beyond 35 students per teacher.
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