Faced with a shortfall of 27,000 regular teachers in Delhi’s government schools, and with hiring of guest teachers put on hold by the Delhi High Court, the AAP government has decided to hire retired teachers for three months. Hiring of teachers in Delhi government schools has been a long-standing issue, with experts saying the shortfall impacts studies. “As a short-term measure, we are hiring retired teachers for two-three months. They will be paid on a per lecture basis. Candidates can be within the age of 60-70 years,” Atishi Marlena, advisor to Education Minister Manish Sisodia, said.
On Friday, the Delhi government’s Directorate of Education told the High Court that there was a shortage of more than 27,000 regular teachers at government schools. It said there were 64,263 regular posts sanctioned for teachers, of which only 38,926 have been filled as on April 1. Earlier this September, a contempt plea on delay in appointing teachers was moved in the Delhi High Court. Since 2009-10, no permanent teachers have been hired. Officials said there are about 17,000 guest teachers, who are hired for 9-10 months, depending on the requirement. During the AAP’s 49-day rule in 2014, exams for the posts of permanent teachers were held by the Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board (DSSSB), and 2,500 teachers were hired.
“Though the recruitment was done, an equal number of teachers have retired. We depended on guest teachers to fill in. But with their recruitment process on hold, we are looking at a crisis,” Ajay Veer Yadav, general secretary of the Government School Teachers’ Association, said. Before it came to power in 2015, AAP had promised that it would regularise services of 17,000 guest teachers. While it could not directly regularise them, the government had decided to give them weightage during the examination.
In August, the DSSSB issued a notice inviting applications for 8,914 teaching posts in Delhi government schools, and for 5,906 teaching posts in MCD schools. However, the advertisement was withdrawn following a letter from Sisodia to L-G Anil Baijal, asking him to put the process on hold as the exam did not give weightage to guest teachers already teaching in schools. Both Baijal and his predecessor Najeeb Jung have raised issues with the clause, and the file has been stuck in the government since October. Since then, a new bill for regularisation of guest and 2,000 contract teachers has also been issued. But Baijal, in a letter to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, said the bill is not in accordance with the constitutional scheme of governance. The government went ahead and passed the bill, and the file is now with the L-G.