The biggest teachers’ recruitment exercise in Bihar has derailed mid-way through. In the light of the Supreme Court order on appointment of trained teachers in schools on prescribed pay-scale, the government has decided to put the second phase of recruitment of nearly 90,000 teachers on hold.
In the first phase, the government had appointed 1.20 lakh teachers, including both trained and untrained.
There was a question mark over recruitment soon after the SC held the Bihar government guilty of contempt of court Contempt Petition (Civil) No. 297/07 (Nand Kishore Ojha vs Anjani Kumar Singh) on July 15 last.
However, the government still kept its fingers crossed, hoping that it would be able to convince the SC citing State’s poor financial health and requirement of a large number of teachers.
Principal Secretary, Human Resource Development Department, Anjani Kumar Singh, said the government had been left with little choice in the face of SC order. “We will first assess the impact of implementation of SC order and then decide future course of action, as it will have significant budgetary impact,” he added.
As per government estimates there were around 6000 vacancies of trained teachers in 2006. However, the number of petitioners has now swelled to around 20,000. The SC order is the culmination of a long legal battle that the petitioners fought from Patna High Court to the Supreme Court since 2004.
While withdrawing the SLP No. 2882/04, filed by the previous RJD government in the SC challenging the Patna HC order in the CWJC 1861/04, the government had admitted that it would accommodate all the trained teachers. That it did, but on a fixed pay, against which the trained teachers filed a contempt petition.
In the event of recruitment of trained teachers on prescribed pay-scale, the government would also have to rescind its own policy decision. The government had taken a policy decision to periodically do away with sanctioned posts of teachers with their retirement and utilize the budget for recruitment of adequate number of fixed-pay teachers.
When the Nitish government took over, the teacher:student ratio in the State was 1:90. Due to appointment of 1.25 lakh teachers under the panchayati-raj system, it has come down significantly, but is still above the national standard of 1:40. Now, with the second phase getting stuck, it could further derail the prospect of universalisation of elementary education by the stipulated deadline of 2010.