Some loud thinking is taking place again on the question of handing over the appointment of staff members in aided schools to the Public Service Commission. Our readers respond:

Right move

If the teachers of aided schools are getting salary from the government, the appointments must also be made by a government agency.

Nowadays, school managers take lakhs of rupees for making appointments. This is totally against our Constitution which guarantees the right to equality. Qualified but economically unsound candidates do not get a chance in aided schools.

Everyone, irrespective of their religion or association, should come forward to support appointment of staff in aided schools by the PSC.

T.C.M. Suresh

Kalpetta

Time for reality-check

It is strange that the authority to make appointments is with the school managements, while the liability of paying salary is left to the government. It has to be remembered that the government pays the salary from the tax it collects from the people. We know managers collect large sums of money from the jobseekers. It is a bribe, though the private school managements call it by other names. The right enjoyed by minorities to establish educational institutions under the law does not include freedom to indulge in corrupt practices.

If the managements are ready to come to terms with the reality, the problem can be solved amicably.

P.N. Ramachandran

Kozhikode

Look for other ways

Appointment of teachers is a legitimate privilege enjoyed by the managements of aided schools from their very inception. To switch to PSC recruitment suddenly will be met with resistance. Appointment of teachers or any appointment in private management schools has become a source of money making. Besides, there are middlemen who make money from the deals. Corruption is widely prevalent and merit is thrown to the winds. The meritorious sans money are denied their rightful placement. But the PSC recruitment is not a panacea for all ills. PSC recruitment will amount to direct governmental interference.

Can we not devise better methods without disturbing the managerial entitlements and privileges? Apolitical selection boards can be constituted for each management with academics, administrators (educational), and persons of integrity, with the manager, giving a fair opportunity to merit, and not money; provided the process involves spot selection and appointment, without giving room for third party intervention.

Robert S. Sreenivasan

Kozhikode

Travesty of justice

Section 11 of the Kerala Education Act authorises the managers of schools to appoint teachers in aided schools subject to the rules and conditions laid down by the government. Consequently a strange situation prevails - the salary of aided school teachers is drawn from the exchequer and the appointment is made by the managers. The manager demand lakhs of rupees for making appointments – a strange arrangement riddled with graft!

According to the old section, the PSC should select teachers for appointment both in government and aided schools. The original section was suspended by an ordinance in 1960. The subsequent amendment empowered the managers to make appointments, while the salary is paid by the government. If there is a vacancy and a qualified candidate is appointed, the government is bound to approve the appointment. The manager is not compelled to observe the reservation norms.

It is imperative that aided schools be nationalised after eligible compensation is paid to the managers. If money is a constraint, it should be paid in instalments.

U.K. Atiyodi

Payyannur

Go for consensus

Right-minded people should welcome the handing over of appointment of staff members in aided schools to the PSC. The idea was mooted by the first popular Cabinet sworn in, way back in 1957. But it failed to implement one of its prime objectives of transferring all the powers of appointments hitherto with the managements of aided schools to the PSC owing to several reasons, which ultimately led to the dismissal of the then Ministry.

Now, even 50 years after the incident, forces opposing the move are still active.

It is time to reach a consensus. Opposition to such a proposal is natural. It should be implemented for the welfare of the masses, especially the weak, and marginalised sections.

It is imperative on the part of the government to bring about a change by enforcing its political will.

K.K. Kunhikannan

Koyilandy

Correct mistakes

The government’s move to hand over appointment of staff in aided schools to the PSC will be appreciated by all who believe in democratic values. The existing Kerala Education Rules (KER) introduced by the first Communist government is outdated and needs to be amended. Some serious steps are being taken to correct the flaws in KER. PSC appointment is one of them.

Nowadays, managers of aided schools appoint teachers taking lakhs of rupees. But it is the government that pays the salary of these teachers. This should not be allowed to continue. It denies justice to thousands of job-seekers who are poor. No reservation norms are followed in these appointments. Money, not merit, is the deciding factor in these appointments.

If managers are not agreeable to PSC appointments in their schools, the government need not pay salary from exchequer to these teachers. This is the time for managers to correct the mistakes made in the past. If they are not ready, the government should take punitive action against them. If managers have any genuine problems, these should be solved through negotiations.

C.K. Rajendran

Palakkad

Stress quality

The education sector is meant to be value-oriented and not money-oriented. Now, the only qualification needed to become a staff member of an aided school is to have resources to pay money to the managements. As a result, those from affluent families but not qualified enough are given the responsibility of shaping the future of the young generation.

Currently more than one lakh teachers serve in this sector. Among the staff, the representation for SC and ST communities is only 0.5 per cent. There are many postgraduates among weaker sections of society who do not get good jobs. They do not have the money to become teachers in schools. The panacea for this social ailment is for the PSC to take over the appointment.

P.M. Subair

Malappuram

Haven for corruption

Aided school managers have unquestionable authority to select and appoint staff members. But instead of the managers paying salary to the employees, it is the government that pays the salary.

These managers extort money from the candidates for appointments. They act like recruiting agents and exploit the education system and society as a whole. Merit and academic achievements are not considered. Reservation and social justice are ignored. They apparently stand for welfare of society and uplift of the poor and the downtrodden but turn the educational institutions into centres of corruption and malpractice. The presence of SC/ST employees in aided school service is only half a per cent!

K.A. Rahmathulla

Palakkad

Welcome move

The government’s proposal is a revolutionary reform, deserving applause.

A hasty decision on this issue may give room to a lot of chaos and trigger controversy.

We cannot ignore the valuable contribution of the aided schools in achieving progress. A series of discussions, involving experts in the field and aided school managers, may help to reach a consensus.

However, this reform will be very beneficial as it will ensure quality education in the schools, besides job opportunity with due reservation for SC/ST candidates as well those from the backward classes. The loyalty of the employees should be ultimately to the government and not otherwise.

K.N. Baby

Kozhikode

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