The Telegraph
Saturday , January 14 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Job regularisation of teachers on ‘fast track’

Kalimpong, Jan. 13: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today claimed that the state government had put on “fast track” the regularisation of services of more than 300 schoolteachers in the Darjeeling hills.

The absorption of the temporary teachers was discussed at a meeting chaired by state education minister Bratya Basu in Calcutta today. Kalimpong MLA and Morcha spokesperson Harka Bahadur Chhetri was present at the meeting.

“The meeting was very positive and the matter concerning the regularisation of the services of ad hoc teachers has been put on fast tack. The process has been initiated. We expect to reach a logical conclusion shortly,” Chhetri told The Telegraph over the phone from Calcutta.

The the Janmukti Secondary Teachers’ Organisation has been demanding that all ad hoc teachers in 118 government-aided schools and the three fully government-owned schools in the hills be made permanent. There are 282 ad hoc teachers in the government-aided schools and 28 in the government institutes.

Apart from Chhetri, Kurseong MLA Rohit Sharma, secretary of the JSTO Bijay Pradhan and co-ordinator of the Morcha’s Education Monitoring Cell Tshering Tamang also attended the talks. The JSTO is a frontal organisation of the Morcha.

Chhetri said the progress in the regularisation process would be discussed at another round of meeting in Calcutta on January 20. Securing the jobs of the ad hoc teachers was foremost on the agenda of the Morcha, he said.

“They are the victims of the previous regime (read the GNLF). These teachers have worked for over 10 to 15 years. I believe their work experience is better than any degree. Had these teachers not been there, many schools would have been forced to close down. They must be given their due,” he said.

Chhetri said the Morcha was not averse to the idea of absorbing the ad hoc teachers by creating more vacancies in the schools according to a provision in the Right to Education (RTE) Act. The provision entails a student-teacher ratio of 35:1 in all secondary schools. “We discussed the issue (at the meeting),” he said.

At present, the hills are not covered by a massive drive embarked upon by the government to recruit about 40,000 teachers into the secondary schools in the state.