Mumbai: The state government has allowed minority schools to fill their 1,474 vacant teaching posts, even as other schools will continue to wait for filling the bulk of 67,775 vacant posts across the state.
In a letter to the director of education (secondary and higher secondary), the state school education department announced that the finance department has approved recruitment on 1,474 vacant posts in minority schools. However, the fresh appointments have been subjected to the 'adjustment' of 265 surplus teachers in these institutes.
Freeze on recruitment and aftermath
The state government had banned the recruitment of teachers in primary, secondary and higher secondary schools in 2012 after it came to light during an official survey that there were excess teachers in many educational institutes. However, in 2014, the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court directed the state to fill 14,844 vacant posts.
In February 2019, the state began the process to recruit over 12,000 teachers in schools affiliated to the state through the online portal 'Pavitra', filling up 6,000 of the posts. In May 2020, the state came out with a government resolution stalling all recruitment due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the state's finances. However, in December of the same year, teachers were excluded from this recruitment ban and later, in 2021, the state approved filling of another 6,100 posts.
Relief for minority schools, teachers
The minority schools have welcomed the go-ahead on recruitment. "It will be a great relief for us, as in the absence of approved teachers, we have to bear the burden of salaries of temporary teachers. Schools can't run without teachers. If the government wants schools to succeed it should appoint the teachers," said Fr. Frazer Mascarenhas, Manager, St. Stanislaus High School in Bandra.
Of 60-odd teaching posts at the school, around 15 are currently lying vacant. The school has now asked the government to approve its appointments for these positions.
While the state has put in place a centralised recruitment process for teachers, minority schools are exempt from it. These institutes hire teachers on their own, and later seek the government's approval.
The questions of surplus teachers
However, some teachers feel that the condition of adjusting surplus teachers may prove to be a hindrance in the appointment process. "The school societies often prefer fresh appointments, instead of taking the surplus teachers in, as they believe that those teachers may not be a good match for their culture. Besides, many teachers are also reluctant to move from one school to another," said a secondary teacher at a school in Malad.
However, Sajid Nisar, Founder, Akhil Bhartiya Urdu Shikshak Sangh, expects that the excess teachers will get absorbed in their existing schools after the government revises the staffing pattern. "The number of students at many private-aided minority schools has increased, which will allow the government to create new posts. The surplus teachers can be placed at these posts," he said.
The teachers demand opening up recruitment for all the vacant posts. "The practice of appointing teachers on contract basis must stop," said Shivnath Darade from Maharashtra Rajya Shikshak Parishad.
(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)