While the Haryana elementary education department on Friday served a 24-hour show-cause notice to over 4,000 guest teachers before dispensing with their services as per orders of the Punjab and Haryana high court, the soft stance being taken by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ministers to assuage the misery of protesting guest teachers seems to be more of a politically expedient exercise than anything else.
Since the BJP ministers, including education minister Ram Bilas Sharma, while being in opposition had promised the guest teachers of “saving their jobs”, it also looks more of a face-saving exercise for the BJP guard.
As per March 2011 orders of the high court in (Tilak Raj v/s state of Haryana), the state government was directed not to extend the tenure of the guest teachers beyond March 31, 2012. In fact, on the expiry of the deadline, the services of all guest teachers shall be understood to have lapsed in terms of the HC order. Later, the Supreme Court, while deciding a special leave petition on March 30, 2012, allowed the guest teachers to continue till the arrival of the regular incumbents as per the schedule submitted by the state education department.
The Friday’s show-cause notice given to guest teachers working as social studies masters, mathematics masters and Hindi teachers in government schools, states they are given 24-hour notice to show-cause as to why their services should not be dispensed with.
The notice was served following a May 11 undertaking given by the state government in the high court that they will do away with the services of the surplus guest teachers in accordance with the law.
CLUELESS ON POINT OF NEGOTIATION
State education minister Ram Bilas Sharma on Friday asked the protesting guest teachers to leave the agitation path and invited them to the negotiating table, as per an official press release.
What point of negotiation, he or the group of ministers which met on Friday to find a way out, can offer to the guest teachers is though not clear.
“Even if the trained guest teachers (TGT) are allowed to teach Class 9 and Class 10 as there is a huge shortfall of post graduate teachers (PGT), the respite for them will be temporary. The moment the state government makes fresh recruitments, the guest teachers will be kicked out. The bottom line is that they have to go,” said an education department official.
THE SURPLUS ISSUE
Following the implementation of the Right of Children to Free Compulsory Education Act, 2009, the school education department was reorganised. The two existing departments — primary education (Class 1 to Class 5) and secondary education (Class 6 to Class 12) were converted into elementary education (Class 1 to Class 8) and the secondary education department (Class 9 to Class 12) in 2011. Since the master and C&V cadre of the secondary education department, who earlier taught Classes 6 to 10, were entitled under the Right Tto Education (RTE) Act, 2009, to teach Classes 6 to 8 only, there was reduction in number of students and workload.
Subsequently, about 10,357 posts in master and the C&V cadre were converted into the post graduate teacher cadre (PGT) in 2012.
Due to the reorganisation, the workload of social studies masters, mathematics masters and Hindi teachers in government schools decreased and consequently the guest teachers for these subjects became surplus as the numbers of regular TGTs in these subjects are more than the sanctioned posts.