Education

Licensing is the key

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While many teachers dream of getting a government job, the process of applying for one seems like a nightmare

A month ago, the Tamil Nadu Teachers’ Recruitment Board (TRB) notified that it invites applications for direct recruitment from eligible candidates for the post of assistant professors in Tamil Nadu Collegiate Educational Service for Government Arts and Science colleges and Colleges of Education.

I was surprised to learn that almost everyone who is eligible for the post advertised has applied. Some are willing to quit their lucrative positions in private institutions and are ready to start their career as assistant professors with a lower salary. Why are they ready to take a lower paying job? Why does everyone want a government job, even though there are some private educational institutions that pay salary on a par with government institutions?

Recently, I initiated a discussion on social media on why many teachers chase their dream of getting into government educational institutions, and got some thought-provoking responses from those who have had government jobs, those who are in government service and those who aspire to get into government services. Here are some of the reasons given by them — job security, equality, decent pay, permanent income, regular increment, periodical promotion, freedom to teach the way you want, less documentation, vacation, five-day work culture, post-retirement economic potential, medical security, and so on. While there are many pros, there are some cons too. However, advantages seem to outweigh the disadvantages.

My professor, Dr. Rajagopal Gibikote put it succintly, “Two factors are important: one, happiness at wherever you are working, and financial security for now and for the future — you need not ask for anything else.” Yes, many teachers believe that working in government educational institutions can provide them with happiness and financial security.

Lucrative

Yes, teaching positions in government institutions are lucrative and attractive. But, are right candidates with adequate knowledge, skills, capabilities and experience recruited for such positions? How transparent is the recruitment process?

The earlier deadline of October 30 for submitting applications to the Tamil Nadu Teachers’ Recruitment Board (TRB) was extended to November 15 at the request of applicants, who expressed their difficulties of going from pillar to post to collect their documents from various colleges where they served, and get the documents attested by authorities in time. The applicants were required to submit the following documents before applying online: detailed experience statement, service certificates, attendance record, salary statement, affidavit, and so on. On the part of the TRB, it is necessary to scrutinise all records to ensure that only the candidates with ‘real experience’ are considered for the post advertised.

I spoke to a couple of teachers who had to go to different colleges in different districts to collect their documents. They had to be on leave for about 10 days to get their work done. They felt that collecting numerous documents was a tedious process for them. Wouldn’t it be great if the process of applying for TRB was made simpler? Here are my suggestions:

Teaching license

Teaching license refers to the teaching credential that is needed to allow a person to legally practise teaching in a particular region or country. Candidates who are eligible for teaching at the tertiary level should be certified by a competent government or government-approved authority and be given teaching license to practise teaching just like medical doctors are given license to practise medicine.

Each teacher should be given a unique identity number. Only licensed teachers should be permitted to teach in colleges and universities. There are many advantages of issuing eligibility certificates to teachers and giving them unique ID numbers. This will enhance the quality of teaching in colleges and also prevent cases of impersonation or duplication of teachers.

Service book

A service register or service book is maintained for each government employee and it has all the details about the employee’s work. Similar to the service record, if an employment register is created for each employee working in private educational institutions and the details of service, salary, provident fund, and so on, are maintained and updated properly, employees can produce the same to their new employer when they switch jobs. In the case of those who apply for teaching positions through TRB, instead of spending so many days going from pillar to post to collect so many documents from several institutions, the applicants can just produce the service record and save their time, money and energy.

Salary accounts

It should be made mandatory that all educational institutes credit their staff’s salary to the salary accounts. This will facilitate an employee to produce their salary statement when required. Salary statements will indicate how long an employee has been working in an organisation and whether they had any break in service in between. There is an urgent need to reform the system that is in practice in many private educational institutions. Transparency should be created and maintained. Only transparency can defeat manipulation of data and records.

Competent, meritorious and dedicated persons should be appointed as teachers in government educational institutions. Only such teachers can make a difference in the lives of students studying in government colleges.

The writer is an academic, columnist and freelance writer. rayanal@yahoo.co.uk

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 4:15:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/licensing-is-the-key/article29990748.ece

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