Teachers of aided schools have claimed that the merger or takeover of their services by the Punjab government will neither have financial implications nor it will burden the exchequer.
This argument has been put forth by the Aided Schools Teachers and other Employees Union of the state during a recent meeting with education minister Sikander Singh Maluka at Chandigarh. During the meeting, they pointed out that recently governments of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan took over all aided schools after coming to the conclusion that the takeover of staff will not put any burden on exchequer.
Amritsar district secretary of the union, Ajay Chohan told HT on Sunday that as of now, there were 484 aided schools in the state, which were being run by private managing committees and were affiliated to the Punjab School Education Board. These schools receive 95% grant (for permanent staff salaries) from the government and the rest is the contribution of the management committees.
He pointed out that as the government had put a ban on recruitment in these aided schools in 2003, around 5,000 of the total 9,468 sanctioned posts, both teaching and non-teaching, were lying vacant in the aided schools. After 2003, the vacant posts were filled under the management quota for which the government gives no grant.
"Now there are more than 5,000 teaching posts vacant in government schools and sooner or later these will have to be filled. The government can fill these posts by taking over 5,000 teachers from aided schools, who will have experience and the government will not have to spend on training them," said Chohan.
He pointed out that the government treasury will be richer by Rs. 200-250 crore as the provident fund of the aided staff after takeover will be transferred to the government setup.
Another benefit for the government could be a saving on the house rent front. Chohan said the staff of aided schools avail 20% as house rent in their monthly pay structure as a majority of these institutes are in urban areas.
"With free education for girls till Class 12 and for boys till Class 8, the fiscal crisis for aided schools has deepened. The only way out is to take over the staff of these institutions, some of which are highly reputed," he added.