NEARLY 10 government schools in the city have been functioning without a regular principal/school head for the last few months. At some government schools in the city, officiating principals have been handling responsibilities for more than a year now.
For instance, at Government Model Senior Secondary School (GMSSS), Sector 35-D, no principal has been appointed for a year and a half. Additionally, GMSSS Sarangpur, GMSSS 38 (W) and GMSSS 45 have been functioning without a regular principal for the last five months. There are no headmasters/headmistresses at Government Model High School (GMHS), Sector 45; GMHS, Pocket No. 8; GMHS-II Dhanas; Government Middle School (GMS), Sector 38-B; GMS 52; GMS 53; GMS 54 and Government Primary School, Sector 12.
With schools not having a formally appointed principal, these have been facing administrative problems. “An officiating principal does not have complete authority over taking decisions like a principal does. They do not have the DDO (drawing & disbursing officer) powers, and for each decision taken, he/she has to seek approval of the superiors. Not only this, the pay scale of officiating principals is not similar to that of principals even though they perform all the duties,” says an officiating principal of a government school.
According to officials from the UT Education Department, new principals will be appointed in at least eight government schools in the city by the end of this month.
“We will complete the promotion process at government schools in the city within the next 30 days. Before that, we are also looking at appointing officiating principals if needed,” says Rubinderjit Singh Brar, director (school education), Chandigarh Administration.
Officials in the Education Department say they are currently looking into appointment of school heads at GMSSS Modern Housing Complex, Manimajra; GMSSS 34; GMSSS 35-D; GMSSS 15; GMSSS 19; GMSSS 45; GMSSS Sarangpur; and GMSSS 38 (West).
According to the promotion rules listed by the Punjab government, appointment of principals in government schools is made on the basis of seniority. Officials of the Education Department maintain a tentative list of candidates on the basis of seniority has been prepared to make sure appointments are made in the next 30 days.
“There are schools that have not had principals for more than a year. Is it really that difficult for the Education Department to find senior teachers/lecturers in Chandigarh? The Education Department has failed to appoint principals because of the system of favouritism that prevails within the administration,” says Swarn Singh Kamboj, president of the UT Cadre Educational Employees’ Union.
However, the Education Department’s decision to address the issue has been welcomed. “This decision of the UT Administration to finally appoint principals was long overdue. However, they must now ensure that a mechanism is also put into place so that such a situation does not arise again where schools do not have heads for months altogether,” says Asha Soin, a teacher at a government school in the city.