The Bengal government has decided to hold a “special” school service commission examination” to regularise the appointment of 279 teachers who had been recruited on an ad hoc basis in the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council area.The decision was conveyed by chief secretary Samar Ghosh to Kalimpong MLA and Gorkha Janmukti Morcha spokesperson Harka Bahadur Chhetri here today.“Regularisation of ad hoc teachers in hill schools was a long standing demand of the Morcha as all of them have more than the required educational qualifications,” said Chhetri.
The MLA said Morcha leaders had discussed the demand with education minister Bratya Basu several times and the latter had promised to expedite the regularisation process.
“We had talks with Bratya Basu several times. He said the state government was trying to find out a middle path. Finally, the chief secretary told us today that the schools in the DGHC area would be treated as a special case and the school education department would hold a special examination to regularise the ad hoc teachers’ jobs,” said the MLA.
“The examination will just be a formality to regularise their appointments. All of them are surely going to qualify,” he added.
The Janmukti Secondary Teachers’ Organisation, an affiliate of the Morcha, had held meetings and dharnas across the hills, demanding that the ad hoc teachers’ jobs be made permanent.
The teachers had been appointed on a temporary basis by the DGHC run by Subash Ghisingh. The state school service commission wasn’t allowed to fill up the vacancies in the hill schools as Ghisingh was opposed to the panel conducting the recruitment. Most of the teachers had been working for more than 15 years.
Reacting to the government’s decision to hold the special school service commission exam, JSTO spokesman Bhishan Roka said: “Whatever they mean (by special exam), as long as the ad hoc teachers are absorbed into the service, the JSTO will be happy.”
The Kalimpong MLA said there were 621 vacancies in the hill schools at present and they needed to be filled up as soon as possible.
“The new government has been taking positive initiatives in this regard. A considerable number of schools in the hills have been upgraded in the past one year. After the regularisation of the 279 ad hoc teachers, we would request the government to fill up the vacancies as soon as possible,” said the Morcha leader.
Chhetri said Darjeeling was the centre of education and tourism since the days of British Raj. “But the schools are in a shambles now because of the strife in the past three decades,” he added.