Kerala

How community, money power derail reservation

‘Aided schools public-funded institutions’

Issues concerning social justice, representation of Dalits and Adivasis, and the government’s role in public-funded private institutions seem to have been pushed to a corner in the ongoing war of words over teachers’ appointment in aided schools.

Though the salary for teaching and non-teaching staff in aided schools and colleges is being paid from the exchequer, the government has only a limited role in the recruitment process, says the Aided Sector Samvarana Samara Samiti.

Violation

The writ of communities and other groups, who run these institutions, runs large here, money is changing hands, and Constitutional provisions on reservation are blatantly being violated, say samiti functionaries.

“As per the data available under a Right to Information Act petition, the total number of teaching and non-teaching staff in aided schools and colleges in Kerala is 1,44,413 in 2014-15. The representation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes is just 0.38% or 560 people,” O.P. Raveendran, an activist of the samiti, pointed out.

His book Pothuvidyabhyasa Rangathe Swakarya Colonykal (The Private Colonies in Public Education Sector) gives a detailed account of the history and growth of aided educational institutions in the State and how they are dominated by either members of the communities who run them or those who can pay for the posts.

PSC’s job

The original Section 11 of the Kerala Education Act, 1958, which governs the appointment of teachers in aided and government schools, had proposed that the Kerala Public Service Commission (PSC) be entrusted with the job of appointment.

Following the ‘liberation struggle’ against the first Communist government, however, that section was cancelled in 1960, giving the right to school managers.

The direct payment system to disburse salaries for aided college staff was introduced in 1972 by the Achutha Menon government, following a bitter feud between the management and the authorities. “With this, the government lost control over appointment in aided colleges and the management was given the right to fill 50% of vacant posts from the community it belongs to and the rest from open merit. This is a violation of the Section 20(1) of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956, that directs implementation of reservation policies by institutions receiving government grant,” Mr. Raveendran said.

“The current Left Democratic Front government, however, claimed in an affidavit filed in the Kerala High Court that the recruitment by aided school and college managers was fool proof,” he said.

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Printable version | Jul 2, 2020 10:26:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/how-community-money-power-derail-reservation/article30837073.ece

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