A fault line created among teaching fraternity in government schools by Tamil Nadu’s Government Order 720 that was issued in 1981 to specify scopes for career progression is threatening to develop into a crack.

Headmasters and post-graduate teachers of government higher secondary schools want the G.O., which, they say, denies them their due promotional opportunities, to be scrapped or at least amended.

On the other hand, heads of government high schools and graduate teachers who far outnumber HMs and teachers at senior levels have cautioned the State government against tampering with the GO that has so far been to their advantage.

In a representation to the Chief Minister, State general secretary of Tamil Nadu High and Higher Secondary Schools’ Association Sami. Sathiyamoorthy urged the State government to desist from amending the G.O. and that the entire vacancies for the post of District Educational Officer must be filled with eligible high school headmasters. To highlight this demand, high school heads will take part in ‘call attention’ meetings in front of the offices of Chief Educational Offices on January 29, he said. The association’s emphasis is that career opportunities that are now in place for much higher number of high school heads should not be denied.

The announcement on ‘call attention’ meeting comes close on the heels of the decision of Tamil Nadu Higher Secondary Headmasters’ Association to conduct demonstrations at all district headquarters in front of the collectorates on January 30 and present memorandums to the Chief Minister through the Collectors calling for amendment of the G.O. to suit the interests of candidates with better qualifications and experience for higher posts.

Highlighting the same demand, over 4,000 members of Tamil Nadu Post Graduate Teachers’ Association (TNPGTA) have planned to take out a procession with tonsured heads from Ramapuram to the Secretariat in Chennai on February 2 if the State government does not respond by this month-end.

‘Injustice to teachers’

The GO, according to PG teachers and heads of government higher secondary schools, does injustice to them as they, despite their seniority in service, lose out on the opportunity for promotions to graduate teachers and heads of high schools with lesser years of service. The GO, according to TNPGTA sources, was issued at a time when higher secondary system was new in the State and there were no PG teachers at that time with 10 years of experience.

The State’s persistence with the GO was enabling high school teachers to become headmasters, District Educational Officers and Chief Educational Officers in quick succession, while PG teachers are required to stagnate in their position for almost two decades, a representative of the association said, calling for release of the report of the one-member committee constituted to study shortcomings in the G.O.

According to T. Subramanian, State president of Tamil Nadu Higher Secondary Headmasters’ Association, this problem would not have arisen had there been a separate directorate for higher secondary education. “There should be no jump in the system of vertical promotion. The existing system provides for promotion of high school heads to the common cadre posts of higher secondary head and DEO. But for higher secondary HMs, the scope for elevation to the DEO post is not only scarce, the promotion is also considered as just ‘change in service’.

For a lasting solution, we are not averse to the idea of ranking DEO cadre above that of higher secondary school head to make promotion more meaningful,” Mr. Subramanian said.