June 23, 2022 2:35:06 pm
They say justice delayed is justice denied. Yet after a long wait of 24 years, 4,500 candidates who had cleared the District Selection Committee (DSC) exam in 1998 can finally don the hat of a coveted government teacher in Andhra Pradesh public schools. It is a bittersweet victory for many, especially those nearing the retirement age.
The green signal came after Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy signed the long-pending DSC file this week approving their jobs as teachers in government educational institutions.
Despite clearing the Andhra Pradesh DSC exam in 1998, the candidates had to go through the ordeal of being jobless as the recruitment process came under scrutiny following controversy over the way the exam and interviews were conducted.
T Kalpalatha Reddy, a Member of Legislative Council, who had also cleared the test in 1998, said that even though it took a long time, the jobs may help several people. “Most of the people who will get postings would be in their 50s now but still it is a dream come true for many. They faced injustice for 24 years but finally justice has prevailed,’’ she said. Those who had qualified had formed the “DSC 1998 Association” and the members knocked on various doors all these years to give them jobs.
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“No government was inclined to take up the matter because the selection process got mired in controversy and no one was willing to touch our case,” said association member D Kondareddy. When Dr Y S Rajashekara Reddy became CM in 2004, as per his promise, some of the candidates were given jobs as “Vidya Volunteers” but their services were not regularised as teachers.
YSRCP MLA from Chodavaram Karanam Dharmasri, who had also qualified in 1998, told The Indian Express that even though 24 years have passed, the decision may help several families. “At that time the basic salary for government teachers was Rs 18,000 per month. Now, they may get Rs 45,000. While hundreds of aspirants worked in private schools for very less pay while only some went on to become lawyers and accountants or took up other jobs. Many have lived in poverty all these years and this job now will help them immensely,” he said.
The DSC 1998 Association has highlighted the case of A Kedareshwar Rao of Srikakulam district who sells clothes on his bicycle or begs for a living. Hailing from a poor family, Rao holds a BEd degree and had qualified the exam in 1998. Though he aspired to be a teacher he did not get the job. “He is nearing his retirement age but if this job helps even for a few years, it would make his life,” a member said.
G Mohan Rao, another association member, said that although disappointed at being left out in 1998, most of them joined as teachers in private schools for peanuts. “Teaching was our passion at that time and being a government teacher was a coveted role. Most of us took up jobs in private schools while some entered other professions,” Rao said.
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