The Department of Primary and Secondary Education has started the process of appointing 11,672 guest teachers.

The process, scheduled to be completed in a fortnight, is expected to bring relief to both students and teachers grappling with staff shortage in government and government-aided schools and pre-university colleges.

The Hindu had reported how teachers, particularly in north Karnataka districts, are combining classes to tackle shortage of teachers.

A circular said the department had invited applications for the posts of 5,405 primary school teacher, 1,137 high school teacher, and 1,130 pre-university teacher. In addition to this, the government had earlier approved appointment of 4,000 guest teachers for primary schools, bringing the total number to 9,405.

Mohammed Mohsin, Commissioner for Public Instruction, said guest teachers would be appointed until regular recruitment was completed. “We cannot let the students suffer. So we have decided to adopt this stopgap arrangement,” he added.

The recruitment of permanent teachers has been halted until reservation under Article 371 (J) that provides special status to the Hyderabad Karnataka region is fixed. Mr. Mohsin, however, said priority would be given to backward areas such as Yadgir, Gulbarga and Koppal as the shortage of teachers in these areas was very high. The guest teacher recruitment also brings some good news to schoolteachers who were working with the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan and Adarsha Vidyalayas on contract basis through a private agency until the agency’s contract ended in April 2013. The teachers, who had protested urging the government to give preference to them during the recruitment of guest teachers, would get preference based on their experience and qualification, Mr. Mohsin said. “But as the recruitments are done locally, we will convey the message to all the block education officers and deputy directors of public instruction,” he said.

The guest teachers will be appointed on a temporary basis and their contract will end after permanent teachers are recruited or by March 2014, whichever is earlier. Guest teachers for primary schools will be paid Rs. 5,500 a month, those in high schools will get Rs. 6,000 and pre-university teachers will be paid Rs. 7,000.

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