Educationists have called for relaxation of qualifying marks for SC, ST, MBC and BC candidates and have also asked for special recruitment drive to fill posts set apart for reserved categories

Educationists, activists and some candidates on Sunday made a strong pitch for conducting a special recruitment drive to fill vacancies set apart for candidates belonging to reserved categories, including schedule castes and schedule tribes, based on the Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) conducted in 2012.

They also called for relaxation of minimum qualifying marks while recruiting candidates belonging to the SC, ST, MBC and BC communities based on the TET.

According to a GO (no. 252), which activists are demanding be withdrawn, weightage is given to marks scored in higher secondary, D.T. Ed and TET in the case of secondary grade teachers (teaching classes I to V). Marks in higher secondary, degree, B.Ed, and TET are taken into consideration in the case of graduate assistants (teaching class VI to VIII).

P.B. Prince Gajendra Babu, general secretary, State Platform for Common School System, said, giving zero weightage in the ‘higher secondary marks’ category to those who have scored below 50 per cent in the examination, puts several such candidates at a disadvantage.

The minimum qualifying mark in TET is 60 per cent.

P.S. Krishnan, former secretary, government of India, said the GO must be amended to bring out the importance of reservation for the SCs, STs, BCs, MBCs, and BCMs and that it should spell out the percentage of reservation for each of them.

“It should also provide appropriate relaxation of marks for each of them. The amended GO must also provide for local recruitment in more backward and difficult areas, particularly tribal areas to which teachers from other parts of the State would hesitate to go,” he said.

He argued that a 50 per cent scored by a student from a poor labouring family which has no tradition of education services, shows greater effort than 60-70 per cent obtained by a student from a relatively well-to-do family, which has traditionally had the benefit of education.

Speaking at the convention and demanding the withdrawal of the GO, V. Vasanthi Devi, former vice-chancellor, Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, said the National Council for Teacher Education, which directs the process, allows for states to give concessions in accordance with the existing reservation policy. They argued that relaxation of marks is not anti-quality.

Mr. Gajendra Babu said in response to an RTI filed by him, the teacher recruitment board had said, out of 1,470 graduate assistant posts to be filled by recruiting SC candidates through TET, 811 have been filled; out of 99 posts for ST candidates, 9 have been filled; out of 295 posts for SC (A) candidates, 164 have been filled, and out of 345 posts for BCM candidates, 192 have been filled.

P. Shanmugam, president, Tamil Nadu Tribals’ Association and T. Neethirajan, member, Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front were among those who spoke.

School education department officials were unavailable for comment.

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