The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Manpower audit or DA axe threat for schools

Anglo-Indian schools are set to lose their freedom of recruiting teachers and other employees, with the government announcing that they must seek its approval on all future appointments. Sixty-seven Christian schools within and outside Calcutta will have to forego state funding of the dearness allowance (DA) component of teachers’ salaries — totalling Rs 35 crore every year — if they refuse to subject themselves to ‘manpower audit’.

H.N. Ghosh, deputy director in the school education department in charge of Anglo-Indian institutions, said the circular has already been issued and copies would reach schools when they reopen next week after the Puja vacation.

“We have come to know that some of these schools are flouting norms guiding their entitlement to government support for DA. So, we are going to make it compulsory for them to get the government’s endorsement before making an appointment to a teaching or non-teaching post,” Ghosh told Metro.

Gilian D’Costa Hart, the lone Anglo-Indian representative in the Assembly and principal of Welland Gouldsmith School, said the measure was “unwelcome”. She admitted that a small section of institutions was flouting norms guiding appointments, but added: “Why punish all for the sin of a few' After all, most schools strictly follow the correct procedure for recruiting teaching and non-teaching staff.”

Under the proposed scheme, when a school notifies the department of its need for new teachers or other employees, education officials pay a visit and scan records to verify if the requirement is genuine. If the government feels that it is not, the school is told that the recruitment will not be approved. The school can still go ahead with the appointment, in which case it will have to forego state funding of the DA entitlement for the post in question.

“Some schools have been found to have drawn substantial funds from the state exchequer for teachers who died long ago,” an official alleged. “Then there are instances where incompetent people have been appointed to certain posts… How do you account for the fact that some day-schools draw funds from the government on a regular basis to pay salaries to washermen'”

Till a few months ago, no teacher of an Anglo-Indian school was a member of any political body. But recently, about 100 of the 2,000 teachers joined the CPM-controlled All-Bengal Teachers’ Association.

Denying that the appointment arbitration was politically motivated, the state education department has highlighted the present funds crunch and stressed the need for uniformity in manpower recruitment among all assisted schools.

“Our experience is that these institutions, though dependent on state funding, do not conform to the rules. We cannot allow them to function independent of norms and principles. If they so value their independence, they will have to learn to live without state help,” said Ghosh.

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