High Court quashes teachers’ recruitment process
The high court on Friday quashed the process initiated by the School Service Commission for recruiting teachers in nearly 15,000 vacant posts in upper primary schools.
Justice Moushumi Bhattacharya directed the commission to start the recruitment process afresh following the guidelines framed by the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE), according to which candidates with a BEd degree should get first preference.
Justice Bhattacharya has set a deadline for the state.
The commission should start the process on January 4. The verification of candidates and preparation of merit list should be completed by May 31, and the recruitment process by August 14.
The NCTE, which regulates teacher education in India, had in 2009 made the BEd or an equivalent degree compulsory for applying for teaching jobs at primary (till Class IV) and upper primary (from Classes V to VIII) schools.
The human resource development ministry (now known as the education ministry) had allowed candidates without a BEd degree to sit for the TET (teacher eligibility test) till March 31, 2014 and had initially expressed its unwillingness to extend the cut-off date.
Later, chief minister Mamata Banerjee had written to then HRD minister Smriti Irani, requesting her to allow untrained candidates to write the exam one more time.
The NCTE, which functions under the ministry, finally accepted the state government’s plea.
“The NCTE suggested that trained candidates should be given preference during the recruitment as well,” said an official of the school education department.
The judge on Friday gave the liberty to the commission to conduct interviews of the candidates virtually.
The process for recruiting teachers in upper primary schools had started in 2014.
Finally, on October 16, 2015, the test for selecting candidates for recruitment in the 14,740 vacant teaching posts was conducted.
Last year, on October 1, the department had prepared a merit list of 26,000 candidates based on their score in the written test, with academic weightage factoring in among others whether the candidate is BEd qualified and performance in the interview.
“The merit list can have more names than the number of actual posts,” said an official of the state’s school education department.
Soon after the publication of the merit list, a large number of candidates moved high court last December alleging that even though they have a BEd degree, their names did not feature on the list while less qualified candidates had been selected.
“This prompted my clients to move court,” advocate Firdaus Shamim, the lawyer for the petitioner candidates, said after the order.
When asked, an official of SSC said generally additional marks are given to BEd qualified candidates while recruiting teachers in schools.
“But in many cases, it has been noticed that untrained candidates are getting higher marks than that of trained candidates, after putting together performance in the written test, academic score and interview score. Therefore names of untrained candidates featured in the merit list as well,” he said.
Advocate Shamim countered his comment and said: “Discrepancies have been found in the list.”