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Kalimpong News: Swipe at govt on teacher drive

Kalimpong, Jan. 3.TT: The Janmukti Secondary Teachers’ Organisation has questioned the government’s decision to keep the hills out of the drive to appoint about 40,000 teachers in secondary schools.
The government has set in motion the process of the mammoth recruitment in keeping with a provision in the Right to Education Act which mandates a pupil-teacher ratio of 35:1 in all secondary schools in the country.
“The government, we believe, has preferred to exclude the hills as the school service commission, which appoints teachers, has been under suspension in the DGHC area since 2003,” said Bhisan Roka, the spokesman of JSTO, which is a frontal organisation of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.
Roka said the government should not deprive the hills of required number of teachers by citing the absence of recruitment procedures.
“Instead, the authorities should make appointments as mandated by the RTE without jeopardising the career of 282 ad hoc teachers already working in the 118 government-aided schools, excluding the 12 minority institutions, in the hills,” he said.
“The ad hoc teachers were appointed during the GNLF regime which had rejected the SSC. Although they are paid a meagre salary, these teachers have been working for many years. But for them, many of the schools would have been forced to close since not a single permanent teacher has been appointed in the hills since the suspension of the SSC in 2003,” said the JSTO spokesperson.
However the services of about 200-odd ad hoc teachers have been regularised since 2003 following court verdicts in their favour.
Hari Dahal, the secretary of JSTO’s Kalimpong branch, said according to the RTE mandate of 35:1 pupil-teacher ratio, about 700 more teachers are required in the secondary schools in the hills which have a combined student strength of about 65,000.
“But the hills have only 1200 teachers at present. Since the requirement for the hills is 700 teachers, we would want the government to absorb all the 282 ad hoc teachers first and fill the remaining 418 posts with fresh recruitment,” said Dahal.
The JSTO will take up the issue with higher education minister Bratya Basu at a meeting in Calcutta on Thursday.
“Basu has called the meeting to discuss the issue concerning the absorption of 28 ad hoc teachers working in the three fully government-owned schools in the hills. The meeting will also be attended by Harka Bahadur Chhetri (Kalimpong MLA) and representatives of the ad hoc teachers and JSTO,” Bhisan said.

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