Govt makes regressive move in forming selection boards for SSA recruitment

[ Taba Ajum ]
ITANAGAR, Jun 29: In a strange decision, the state cabinet has said it would make a panchayat leader along with two residents of the district concerned part of the five-member selection board to conduct interviews for the recruitment of teachers under the Samagra Shikhsa Abhiyan (SSA)/ISSE in the districts.
The two citizens who would be board members would have to be “qualified and respected,” according to the cabinet decision. The boards, to be headed by the deputy commissioners, will also include the deputy directors of school education.
At a time when the state government headed by Chief Minister Pema Khandu is regularly harping about improving the quality of education, the move is shocking and regressive.
In December 2019, the education department had floated an advertisement seeking applications for filling 258 vacant posts of PRT and TGT teachers. The interview was to be conducted centrally, and several candidates had even applied.
However, the state cabinet on 18 February decided to cancel the recruitment process, leaving the education department perplexed.
“With no disregard to PRI members and so-called qualified citizens, this move is ridiculous. This will give all the power to the politicians to appoint people of their choice as board members who can influence the outcome of the interviews. No quality teacher will be selected,” said an official.
The move to conduct interviews centrally had been mooted by the department to select quality teachers, and to avoid political influence.
“There are many SSA teachers who are working without the requisite qualification as per the RTE Act. Many were appointed by politicians in return for votes during election. If such practice continues, how will quality teachers be recruited? This will compromise the quality of education,” the official added.
As per the RTE Act, school teachers have to acquire certain requisite academic and professional qualifications set by the National Council for Teachers’ Education (NCTE). The NCTE had set 2013 as the cut-off year for teachers working across India to fulfill the criteria and acquire the required qualifications. However, it was extended in 2015, and again in 2017.
Even after 2017, states like Arunachal, Bihar, UP, etc, reportedly sought extension as many teachers failed to fulfill the NCTE criteria. Accordingly, the NCTE extended it to 31 March, 2019.
However, it is alleged that many teachers are yet to fulfill the criteria, thereby breaking the norms under the RTE Act.