The Union Government will hire 38,800 teachers and support staff for Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS) for tribal students across the country over the next three years, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on February 1 during her Union Budget 2023-24 speech in Lok Sabha.
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Ms. Sitharaman said, “Centre will recruit 38,800 teachers and support staff for the 740 Eklavya Model Residential Schools, which is serving 3.5 lakh tribal students.”
This announcement comes months after The Hindu reported in September last year that EMRSs across the country were running with less than half the number of teachers recommended by the National Education Society for Tribal Students (NESTS), the managing authority of EMRSs.
Data available with the NESTS showed that even among these, more than 70% of teachers were either contractually recruited or on deputation from State government schools.
NESTS officials had said that they were not being able to fix the teacher shortage because of the structure, under which NESTS does not have power to direct State Education Societies for Tribal Students (SESTS).
Senior officials in the Ministry of Tribal Affairs said that the Department of Expenditure had already approved a change in the structure, enabling NESTS to take control of all recruitments. The Ministry has already written to the Central Board of Secondary Education to begin the recruitment of teachers as soon as possible.
“This year, we will recruit at least 10,000 teachers for the EMRSs across the country,” the official said, adding that the teachers currently appointed temporarily or on contract will also be given a chance to apply for these vacant positions and will be considered provided they are qualified as per NESTS guidelines.
Currently, only 401 of the 689 sanctioned EMRSs are functioning and catering to a total of 1.13 lakh tribal students, according to Ministry of Tribal Affairs data. Ministry officials said that they intend to make another 50 EMRSs function by the time the next academic year begins.
NESTS officials have said that once the new management structure kicks in, the SESTSs will be scrapped providing for regional offices of the NESTS to take up the direct management of the schools on the ground.
The Ministry’s Budget for FY 2023-24 showed that nearly half of its entire allocation for the year has gone to the development and management of EMRSs — coming up to ₹5,943 crore out of the total ₹12,461.88 crore allocation for the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.