Hire and, if necessary, fire.
Embracing a market-oriented policy that gives it the private sector’s freedom to recruit and downsize at its own will, the government has come close to hiring about 900 teachers on contract for appointment in Higher Secondary schools in and outside Calcutta.
Education officers said on Monday that Governor Viren J. Shah has just okayed the government’s proposal for recruiting teachers in phases — 900 to begin with — for placement in a little over 2,000 Higher Secondary schools, about 700 of which are located in Calcutta proper.
The move comes as the first step towards the government’s plans to shift at least 5,000 regular teaching jobs that are lying vacant to the contract system.
These teachers will be paid consolidated salaries of Rs 2,000 a month, with leave and other benefits at par with those on the government’s regular payroll. However, unlike the latter, teachers on contract will be free to take private coaching classes. They will have to take a minimum of 10 classes a week.
According to the contract, each teacher will be employed in an institution for a year with a provision of renewal after a break of at least a day, lest a permanent job is claimed on the plea of continuity.
“We want to open up the education front to the educated unemployed,” said a senior officer in the education secretariat.
“To fill up the vacant posts of 5,000 regular teachers with part-timers means a net annual saving of Rs 72 crore for the state exchequer,” he said.
Instead of filling up vacant posts of teachers in Higher Secondary schools through the School Service Commission, the education department has decided to allow the managing committees of these schools to appoint honours graduates or post-graduates as part-time teachers.
A newly-appointed teacher in a school with a regular government pay-scale draws not less than Rs12,000 per month. There are over 2,000 Higher Secondary schools in the state, and about 5,000 posts are vacant.
Director of school education S. Som has sent the government circular, along with the directorate’s guideline, to all the schools concerned in Calcutta and elsewhere in Bengal last week.
The guideline makes it clear that all contractual appointments will strictly be against vacant sanctioned posts. No prior permission shall be necessary to appoint the teachers on contract.
A four-member selection committee, comprising one external nominee, is required to be formed by the managing committee.