Sikkim: Ad hoc teachers protest move to re-conduct interview for appointment
Ad hoc teachers protesting in front of the Tashiling Secretariat in Sikkim
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Gangtok: As many as 860 ad hoc teachers in Sikkim, who were selected in October last year, are now protesting the education department’s move to re-conduct a walk-in interview for appointment.

The ad hoc teachers were appointed for a period of six months and their service expires on June 30 this year.

Earlier, ad hoc teachers — both primary and post-graduate — were given extension every year. They were considered for regularisation once they completed eight years in service as an ad hoc teacher.

Now, as per a new notification, the education department has decided to conduct a walk-in interview for such ad hoc teachers for re-appointment.

On June 28, the education department released a circular saying “all appointments of ad hoc teachers in the education department would only be made subject to participation in walk-in interview with the appointing authority, and in fulfilment of the criteria as prescribed for in the NCTE Acts, its rules and regulations”.

The circular said the decision was made for a “transparent method in the employment of ad hoc employees for various departments”.

The circular further said that “with the object of ascertaining any prior irregular appointments”, ad hoc teachers who were selected last year and whose service expires on June 30, will have to appear for a walk-interview scheduled in July 2021 for appointment as ad hoc teachers.

Ad hoc teachers protesting in front of the Tashiling Secretariat in Sikkim

The new decision has not gone down well with the ad hoc teachers. “We had followed all the norms. They want a Bachelor’s degree in education, we have that. They wanted a Teachers’ Eligibility Test (TET) report, we have that too. They called us for an interview, we cleared that too. We were all happy when we got the selection order in October, even if it was for ad hoc teachers. We have no problem about that as long as we are regularised after eight years,” a protesting teacher said.

Another teacher said, “If we were wrong and the interview process was wrong, they should have corrected it last year. They are telling us now that the upcoming walk-in interview is happening based on NCTE norms. Then, why was that ignored last year?”

Earlier on June 21, the All Sikkim Ad hoc and Temporary Employees’ Association, spearheaded by teachers as its executive members, wrote to the state government requesting for cancellation of the re-interview of ad hoc teachers appointed in 2020.

“It will be an injustice for those who appeared for the interview last year to again take the seat for the same post twice. If the department wants, then those who do not meet the criteria can he interviewed. Those who fulfilled the criteria should be given relaxation,” a protesting teacher noted.

Many teachers argue that the process of re-interview should happen only for those who were appointed in the past through unfair means. “There are so many teachers who do not fit the criteria but were appointed earlier. They are now enjoying the privileges, both as regular and ad hoc teachers,” said another teacher.

Also read | Sikkim govt has not formulated concrete policy to face COVID-19 pandemic: HC

Meanwhile, speaking with EastMojo, GP Upadhyaya, additional chief secretary in the education department, said: “It [last year’s recruitment] was valid till June 2021. Now fresh recruitment will be done as there were more requirements. We will do the interview where those teachers can reappear. If they are experienced and have all the qualifications, they should not have any difficulty.”

According to Upadhyaya, the 860 ad hoc teachers were appointed only till March, but their term was extended till June due to various factors.

“Many teachers have retired, so we have a bigger requirement. They have got good chance that they will be recruited again. We are trying to have the best quality of teachers, that is the only purpose. You have to evaluated properly. If they are qualified and good, why should they worry?” Upadhyaya questioned.

This year, there is vacancy for more than 2,000 teachers, said Upadhyaya. “However, those recruited last year will be given weightage. Someone who has taught for a few months in 2020 will also be given more weightage,” he added.

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