Bihar: Over 3 Lakh Contractual School Teachers Oppose Online Mandatory Competency Exam
Representational Image. Image Courtesy: Flickr
Patna: More than 3.5 lakh contractual school teachers in Bihar, locally known as Niyojit Shikshaks, are up in arms against the government’s latest decision to make it mandatory for them to clear the competency examination to get state government employee status. They are also opposing the government's decision to conduct "online" competency examinations in place of offline.
Last Saturday (February 3), an official notice was issued by the education department in regard to this competency examination.
In the last week of December 2023, the then Mahagathbandhan government announced that it would give state government employee status to contractual school teachers. This was a big move to fulfil an old demand of contractual school teachers after repeated protests in recent years.
Several associations of thousands of contractual school teachers have now opposed the state government's recent order to clear the mandatory competency examination and have also strongly objected to a provision of maximum three attempts or losing their jobs.
The Bihar Rajya Prathmik Shikshak Sangh (BRPS) and Bihar Madhyamik Shikshak Sangh (BMSS) have threatened to launch a protest if contractual teachers lose their jobs after not clearing competency examinations.
Besides, teachers are also opposing the government's decision to conduct "online" competency examinations in place of offline. Earlier, both these associations had demanded state government employee status for contractual school teachers “without any condition”.
"The government’s threat to sack contractual teachers in case they fail to clear the competency examination and its decision to conduct online examination are in utter violation of the Bihar School Specialist Teachers Rules, 2023 .We will oppose both", BRPS president Brajnandan Sharma told NewsClick.
Sharma said contractual school teachers will not appear for the online examination and the government will have to conduct it offline.
"Majority of contractual school teachers have no knowledge of operating computers, how can they take the online competency examination? The government should first train them to operate computers", he added.
Shatrugan Singh, former MP of Communist party of India and leader of BMSS, said the state government assured us that they would conduct a simple competency examination. But it has now made it mandatory to clear it and has now decided to conduct it only online. "This is contrary to what Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced last year," he added.
Singh said Kumar should take notice of such decisions by the education department, which are a violation of his own announcement.
"The department has also given the option of only three districts for their postings. In such a situation, thousands of contractual school teachers will prefer to continue on contract in place of getting government employees status", Singh said.
Manoj Kumar, a leader of the Bihar Rajya Shikshak Sangharsh Samanvay Samiti, told NewsClick that the government's move has created anger among contractual school teachers. "We will be left with no option but to launch a protest if the government does not amend its orders", he added.
As per the official notice, all contractual school teachers will have to fill the forms for the competency examination between February 1-15, which will be held from February 26 to March 13.
According to an official, last year, the government had decided to grant government employee status, as per the Bihar School Specialist Teachers Rules, 2023. It was to benefit all contractual school teachers appointed since 2006 through Panchayati Raj Institutions and Urban Local Bodies.
It was also announced last year that contractual school teachers would have to pass a simple competency test conducted by the education department to formally get government employee status.
Under the Bihar State School Teachers (appointment, transfer, disciplinary action and service condition) Rules, 2023, teachers would be appointed under one standardised process and have status equivalent to state government employees with separate district cadres.
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