The Punjab education department has decided to have a “recruitment directorate” for primary to senior secondary teachers, with a view to covering the massive shortfall and eliminating doubts that bring the hiring process into litigation, later.
The recruitment directorate will be a separate entity headed by a senior Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer with full staff. Behind this move, which education minister Dr Daljit Singh Cheema has discussed and debated with the finance and personnel departments, the objective is to find teachers to replace the 5,000 who superannuate every year, and fill more than 10,000 other posts in primary, middle, high, and senior secondary schools. The state government employs 1.25 lakh teachers.
“I have put this matter (of recruitment directorate) on the fast track. This body will not have any financial impact. On the contrary, it will be selfsufficient. I will take the matter to the cabinet shortly for approval,” the education minister told Hindustan Times. To bolster its prospects before the 2017 assembly elections, the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is anxious to deliver on the front of combating unemployment; and the education department has a huge scope to help it deliver “2 lakh jobs in government sector”, yet another lofty election promise.
The ruling party claims to have recruited “55,000 teachers on regular basis” in its 200712 regime, and in line with its promise of “transparency in recruitment”, the recruitment directorate will not hold written tests and interviews. “The selection,” the education minister said, “will be based on the applicants’ academic record. The process will be legally sound, as we don’t want litigation to delay the appointments.”
Yet another advantage, said Dr Cheema, was the mandate to begin recruitment in advance and in anticipation of the future retirement of teachers. “The directorate will fill vacancies and ensure that new teachers are in place the day the old ones retire,” he said. Until recently, teachers were appointed by a committee headed by principal secretary (education) and including two vice-chancellors (VCs).
“All members of this committee are burdened heavily, so we propose to have a recruitment directorate,” said principal secretary (education) C Roul, who in tandem with the minister has initiated major reforms in the department.