Basic lessonGovt, Teachers Service Commission should do more to promote teaching as a viable career
The government has finally placed a moratorium on reserving a large portion of permanent teaching positions for temporary teachers. The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has suspended the process of hiring permanent teachers altogether; this follows strong criticism about hiring temporary teachers permanently. Temporary teachers do not have to fulfil the same requirements as permanent teachers. Therefore the shortcut to the position has the risk of giving unqualified individuals charge to teach students. Although suspension of the hiring process is a good move, the TSC and the government needs to refocus their efforts on hiring qualified permanent teachers and should not look to allow unqualified candidates to apply.
The government has generally provided permanent vacancies in three categories based on their service period, with an equal number of schemes for the golden handshake option. For a permanent posting, the temporary teachers recruited before 1993 need 40 percent in the examination; teachers recruited between 1993 and 2004 will have to compete internally among their peers; and the teachers recruited between 2004 and 2016 will have to compete with new candidates, although 75 percent of the seats is reserved for them.
The TSC maintains that preparations for conducting tests for permanent postings have been suspended for a month. This follows a hunger strike by university students protesting the 49 percent quota on permanent hirings from the pool of temporary teachers. The students allege that the government and political parties have conspired to undermine the public education sector since they are pushing postings on party patronage. The suspension of the process means that the commission will have to wait for the verdict of the Supreme Court on a writ filed against an amendment to the Education Act in September, which allowed such reservations for temporary teachers.
This latest amendment cleared the TSC to allow temporary hirings between August 6, 2004 and July 29, 2016 to have a 75 percent reserved quota within the permanent hiring process, a substantial increase from an already high 49 percent.
The TSC, and the government, should do more to attract qualified individuals to teaching positions. Teachers are entrusted with moulding the youth, and the quality education of youths has a huge effect on their future well-being and overall development of the society.
The government needs to ensure that only those who are sufficiently qualified are assigned to uphold this responsibility. Simply hiring temporary teachers for permanent positions regardless of whether they meet key requirements is deeply unfortunate. Access to quality education is a right, as ensured by our new constitution. It’s time to make sure that the responsible state bodies uphold this constitutionally mandated assurance and stop our public education system from turning into a poor joke.