Will the provisions of the rehabilitation package for teachers announced by Education Minister P.K. Abdu Rabb here on Wednesday result in a “harvest of recruitments” for managers of aided schools?

According to the revised — and final version — of the package, aided schools will recruit one teacher from the government's teachers' bank against vacancies that arise when the teacher-student ratio is made 1:30.

The rest of the vacancies can be filled up by the school managements.

Unions' version

Representatives of teachers' organisations — particularly those owing allegiance to the Left — argue that this is nothing but a surrender by the government to the managements. “These vacancies are those that will come thanks to a government initiative. This is the best opportunity to draw a line beneath the protected teachers' issue. What good would it do if only one appointment is made per school from the bank? Doesn't this also mean that the appointments in other seats would result in a windfall for the managers,” asked M. Shajahan, general secretary of the CPI(M)-affiliated Kerala School Teachers' Association.

He also pointed out that the previous Left Democratic Front (LDF) government had insisted on a 1:1 ratio for such appointments.

Department's view

However, Department officials maintain that a school manager would by no means have an unfettered right to make appointments to such vacancies. A senior Department official pointed out that according to the terms of the package, each school would have to prepare a seniority list of eligible teachers and those who have a claim for appointment in that institution.

“This list of claimants would have to be published on the website of the Education Department. Any complaints can be referred to a committee in which the AEO/DEO concerned would be a member. No appeals would be allowed against the decision of this committee. Only after exhausting all teachers in this list can any ‘outside' appointments be made. This may happen in select schools and numbers would be small,” the official claimed. The first priority for appointment would go to the 2,920 teachers who are working without salary.

Retirement vacancies

A government note on the package published on the website www.education.kerala.gov.in also makes it clear that future retirement vacancies would be collected and notified in an IT-enabled environment by the Director of Public Instruction.

This would create a situation where schools can make appointments only against vacancies notified by the government, the note says.

Teachers' bank

The 3,083 protected teachers in the State, the 2,920 teachers working without salary, and the 4,500 teachers who lost their jobs due to division fall and those who are expected to lose their jobs this year would form the teachers' bank.

Of the 10,503 teachers in the bank, 2,677, can be appointed as head teachers as per the RTE Act. While 641 teachers can be appointed as Block Resource Centre trainers, 3,136, would gain employment once the student-teacher ratio is made 1:30. The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan would be able to absorb 2,752 teachers as ‘specialists'. The remaining — 1,297 — can be sent for training in batches, the note concludes.