The Teachers Service Commission has yet again postponed the test to hire teachers on permanent positions indefinitely following protests by teachers and students, who have been on a hunger against the plan to hire temporary teachers exclusively.
Issuing a notice on Friday, the commission postponed the test, which was to be held on April 6, for the fourth time in a row following instruction from the Education Ministry. The test was being conducted for 22,076 vacant positions with 75 percent reservation for temporary teachers in line with the controversial ninth amendment to the Education Act-1972.
Despite objection from several quarters, Parliament on September 19 last year endorsed the amendment, opening the door for hundreds of temporary teachers to get state benefits even if they fail the TSC test for permanent appointment. The revision had cleared the deck for announcing internal vacancies for temporary teachers recruited before August 6, 2004. Serving teachers would qualify for permanent posting if they secured 40—the minimum pass score.
It also gave way for the TSC to reserve 75 percent quotas for temporary teachers recruited between August 6, 2004 and July 29, 2016.
The TSC had announced the vacancies in July, 2017 for the first time as provisioned in the eight amendment to the Act. But it was cancelled due to protests from temporary teachers who wanted more reservation, which was eventually granted by the ninth amendment. The test then was slated for August 19 before it was postponed till August 26. Since protests did not stop, the plan was pushed indefinitely again.
This time a section of the temporary teachers were on a huger strike demanding permanent status for all the temporary teachers while some university students staged protested separately against reservations as a whole. Three student unions affiliated to the major parties also started their protest on Friday supporting the students. As many as 23,283 candidates were taking part in the test.
“The test scheduled for April 6 has been postponed at the request of the Education Ministry,” the TSC states. “The ministry has suggested holding the test for both the reservation and open categories together.” New vacancies would be announced assigning a significant share to the open category.
The government has issued 700,000 teaching licences after giving candidates tests, which had been a must for appointing teachers until the new change. The agitating students charged the government and the political parties with conspiring to destroy the public education sector. Around 5.5 million students study in around 29,000 public schools across the country. There are around 26,000 temporary teachers who got jobs in the schools on the back of their political patronage.