August 13, 2020 11:02:41 pm
A LITTLE over a week after the state higher education department issued an online transfer policy for government college teachers, the Haryana Government College Teachers Association (HGCTA) has written to Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar urging him to put it on hold “due to lots of lacunae in the policy”.
The government issued the online transfer policy on August 4 “to ensure equitable, demand-based distribution of teachers to protect academic interest of students and optimise job satisfaction among teachers in a fair and transparent manner”.
However, the teachers’ association called it “incomplete, opaque, unjust, discriminatory, non-democratic, self-contradictory, window-dressed, biased and oppressive”.
The government has hinted that it’s ready to incorporate some of the suggestions of the association, adding that serious deliberations were going on with its leaders for the past two days. The government had initiated an online transfer policy for school teachers in 2017, which has been implemented in several other departments since then.
Objection to mandatory rural service
The HGCTA claims to be a representing body of 3,600 teachers who teach in 157 government colleges in the state. It has mainly objected to the mandatory rural service policy. “As per the online transfer policy, each teacher has to go to rural areas to teach in government colleges. On the other hand, there is a long queue of teachers who are keen for posting in rural areas to get promotional benefits. When the government is not able to accommodate these teachers for posting in rural areas, what is the point in making the rural posting mandatory for all teachers?” asked Narender Siwach, president of the HGCTA.
Another issue as pointed out by the teachers is implementation of the existing rural service policy, which was notified in 2013 but was implemented with retrospective effect from October 29, 2002. The teachers body does not want the online transfer policy to be based on this rural service policy. “How can a new policy be framed on the basis of an old policy which is itself full of flaws?” asked the HGCTA, adding that, “Transfer policy can’t be finalised without resolving the rural service policy’s issues.”
Regular assistant, associate profs should be given preference
The association says that regular assistant and associate professors should be given preference in the online transfer policy. The association leaders believe that regular teachers should be posted as per preferences mentioned by them treating the posts held by contractual or guest teachers as vacant. They say the contractual or guest teachers should be posted on the remaining posts.
“The policy mentions that posts occupied by eligible contractual/extension/guest teachers who are protected by any court orders shall not be considered as vacant. This policy is to be made for regular assistant/associate professors, not for contractual/extension or guest teachers. This draft is demeaning the rights of regular assistant/associate professors. Regular teachers lawfully have right over the posts,” said the association in the representation sent to the CM, education minister and senior officers.
Assistant and associate professors have status of gazetted officers in Haryana while the contractual, extension or guest teachers are appointed on contract basis keeping in view requirements at local level. “How can someone who is not a gazetted officer hold a gazetted post? This is unconstitutional in nature. The extension lecturers are in thousands in Haryana. Considering their posts not vacant will be a big injustice for regular employees. This issue needs to be resolved before implementing the transfer policy,” mentioned the HGCTA.
Objection to compulsory transfer every 5 yrs
The association has also objected to the provision of compulsory transfer of college teachers after every five years’ service at a college. According to the association, the chief secretary’s office has nowhere mentioned that transfers are to be made compulsorily. “This means that the post of an employee serving at a station for more than five years at a stretch will be treated as vacant if someone is desirous of coming to that station. But (the online transfer policy) issued by the department states that such employees will be transferred compulsorily. What benefit will one get by transferring employees when no one is desirous of coming to that station? This will not provide…job satisfaction among the employees as is stated in the vision of the guidelines issued by the chief secretary’s office. The amendments issued (by the government) itself states that employees are not to be transferred to far places unnecessarily. Unnecessary transfers will prove to be disastrous for teachers, students and society as a whole,” said the association.
Need for more recruitment
The association has stressed on the need for more recruitment to fill the gap of sanctioned posts and current availability of regular teachers in colleges. “Only 50 per cent posts are filled with regular employees in the state. In no circumstance, the transfer policy will magically increase this number. This can be achieved only by making new recruitments. Transferring an employee unnecessarily doesn’t increase his/her efficiency or job satisfaction, as is the vision stated in the policy guidelines,” said the association, adding that it is not against the online transfer policy but the policy should be practical, workable and made on the principle of natural justice.
‘Suggestions being considered’
Haryana Higher Education Department Principal Secretary Ankur Gupta told The Indian Express that they were already considering the issues raised by the association.
“They haven’t objected but have given some suggestions. I agree with some of them. They have a valid point on the issue of rural service which is being incorporated in the policy,” said Gupta.
According to the Principal Secretary, meetings were being held between the director general of the department and association. “We had consulted them earlier too but there may be oversight on our part. One or two issues were pointed out when we started implementing the policy. Now, we are working to incorporate the same in the policy,” added Gupta.
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