SSA/ISSE recruitment controversy

Edn dept issues clarification, AAPSU rejects it outright

Staff Reporter
ITANAGAR, Jul 3: The education department on Friday issued a clarification over the controversy surrounding the cabinet decision to include a panchayat leader along with two residents of the district concerned as part of the five-member selection board to conduct interviews for the recruitment of teachers under the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA)/ISSE in the districts.
The decision has invited strong backlash in the state, with the All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) criticizing the move and seeking its reversal.
Education Secretary Niharika Rai issued the clarification. She claimed that “there already are various committees at the district level which involve even MLAs as members, and the involvement of a panchayat leader in this case is a way to ensure decentralized participation in decision-making and fair selection.
“The panchayat leader will be more of a watchdog to ensure that the DC and the department select the right people as per the qualification criteria, and that the interview is fair. Even the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act envisaged giving a more prominent role to the panchayats for decision-making,” Rai said.
The secretary said eminent members of the society would be there to ensure that the people of the locality concerned have a say in the selection of suitable teachers in the school of that area.
“Since SSA/ISSE teachers are selected for a district only and serve there only in their careers, district functionaries are best suited to make selections of teachers for their respective districts,” Rai said.
She said that, during the selection process, to be conducted in the districts by the committees headed by the DCs, “eighty percent weightage of marks is given to predetermined qualification and percentage of marks received by the applicant in his/her academic qualification, ie, in 10th, 12th, graduation, post-graduation, BEd/DElEd, APTET/CTET, etc.
“Only 20 percent weightage of marks is given to the interview, which is to be conducted by the DC along with the other committee members, and therefore it is not a major component,” said the secretary.
The AAPSU has outright rejected the clarification.
“The department must clearly outline that a PRI representative and two so-called respected citizens should not be in the interview board. They should be clearly not given any participatory member role. Instead of them, subject experts or any other government officials should be included, as is the normal practice,” said AAPSU general secretary Tobom Dai.
He added: “The department’s justification that 20 percent will not have any impact on the outcome of the whole selection process is beyond our understanding. Leave alone 20 percent, even 0.1 percent is a big game-changer in any competitive exam.”
The union termed the secretary’s clarification an eye-wash.
“Even if the department clarifies, nothing actually changes unless the revised guideline approved by the state cabinet is officially changed. This was a cabinet decision and it has to be rectified by the cabinet. The education secretary should not misguide the people on this issue,” said Dai.