Guwahati: According to Education Minister Ranoj Pegu, the Assam government is considering hiring guest instructors at its schools for the first time to address the teacher shortage. In the state, there are currently roughly 8,000 open teaching positions, many of which are only open to applicants who fall under the Scheduled Tribe (Hills) category, according to him.
According to Pegu in an interview with the media, the state cabinet has already given its approval to the plan to hire guest instructors, and the education department has started the preparatory steps to hire them in select schools till permanent faculty members are hired. At first, the government plans to implement the concept through the establishment of alumni groups in the schools, particularly in the historically significant ones.
These alumni associations will play an important role in quality education in schools. They will try to get guest teachers till permanent ones are appointed so that classes are not hampered," Pegu said. He said that if the alumni associations cannot get good teachers, then the government will rope in the retired teachers for the job.
"Our main purpose is to provide quality education to our school students. The guest teachers will be provided a fixed amount as monthly remuneration and it will not be on a per-class basis like those in colleges or universities," he said. The minister also clarified that these guest teachers will not be like the contract teachers, who are already working in thousands of schools across the state. Pegu said around 8,000 posts are lying vacant across the state.
"Of these, 4,000 each are vacant in the elementary and secondary level. Recently, we have appointed 11,000 teachers. A significant number of the vacant posts are reserved for ST-Hills category. Unfortunately, we are not getting suitable candidates to appoint in the reserved category," he said. He, however, said the government will fill these 8,000 vacancies by the end of the current financial year.
In the state, there are over 2.4 lakh teachers employed in 45,000 primary and 4,300 secondary schools. He added that a state cabinet-approved online application portal would soon be used to start the teacher transfers, which had been halted for almost three years.
"We will start with the mutual transfer process, the orders of which will be issued within this month. The next will be the single transfer by the teachers under various grounds," Pegu said. He emphasized that teachers with health grounds and women for marital reasons will be given priority in case of the single transfer scheme.
The minister said that around 3,000 schools will be amalgamated with neighbouring schools within this financial year.
"This cannot be termed as the closing of the schools. We will amalgamate for improving the overall quality of the schools. This exercise will continue in future also," he added.
Assam's government began the process of combining two schools because of a variety of factors, including fewer students, subpar facilities, a lower teacher-to-student ratio, and higher operating costs.