Clearing the air over the recruitment norms to be followed for the junior basic teachers (JBTs) and nursery teachers in UT, the Chandigarh bench of Central Administrative Tribunal has observed that since qualified persons are available in Chandigarh, there can be no objection to the UT administration prescribing eligibility criteria higher than the one prescribed by the National Council for Teachers’ Education (NCTE) for the said categories of teachers.
The order has been passed following a petition filed by Manoj Kumar, a resident of Jind, Haryana, challenging the recruitment norms set by the UT administration for JBTs and nursery teachers.
Kumar in his complainant had urged the CAT to direct the UT administration to comply with the norms laid down by the NCTE. He had urged the CAT to direct the Chandigarh education department to accept his application form and permit him to appear in the written test as he was eligible as per the NCTE guidelines during the pendency of the petition. Kumar was allowed to appear in the selection examination on provisional basis following the interim order of the CAT dated November 19, 2014.
QUALIFICATIONS FOR JBT AS PER NCTE
According to the applicant, as per the NCTE rules, a person should have at least 45% marks in senior secondary (or its equivalent) and has done two-year diploma in elementary education for appointed as a junior basic teacher. He averred that even a person who has done graduation and two-year diploma in elementary education would be eligible for appointment as JBT.
QUALIFICATION OF COMPLAINANT
Kumar had 45% marks in the senior secondary and 50% marks in graduation. He is teaching as a JBT at GMSSS, Khuda Lahora, UT, since February 4, 2013. He had also passed the Central Teacher Eligibility Test (CTET) in the year 2012.
QUALIFICATIONS SET BY UT ADMINISTRATION
As per the norms set by the UT education department, a person should be a graduate or its equivalent from a recognised university with 40% marks in aggregate and should have at least 50% marks at the senior secondary level. The applicant should hold a diploma in basic teacher training of not less than two years duration from a institute recognised by NCTE, with at least 50% marks in aggregate.
The defence counsel averred that there cannot be a different interpretation of the same rules when it is clear that the guidelines set by the NCTE are to be followed throughout India and therefore the eligibility criteria set by the education department was illegal.
Meanwhile, Arvind Moudgil, nodal officer, Chandigarh administration in CAT, stated that the applicants had neither challenged the rules nor the advertisement and had willingly participated in the selection process. “The NCTE only prescribes minimum qualification and Chandigarh administration was well within its legal right to prescribe higher qualifications for the teachers considering the high standard of teaching in Chandigarh,” he added
The tribunal observed that in UT, educational qualifications of people are quite high and so are the expectations from the teachers.
“Since it is in the interest of selecting better qualified persons as teachers and resultantly improving the quality of education imparted to the children of the UT, there can be no objection to the UT administration prescribing eligibility criteria higher than those prescribed by the National Council for teachers Education (NCTE) for selection as JBTs.”
It is pertinent to mention that there are over twenty petitions of the candidates challenging the UT recruitment norms for the respective classes and the order of the tribunal has finally settled the long-pending petitions with the afore-said order.