Higher Secondary NSS state programme coordinator’s continuance comes under scanner

A reply to a Right to Information query, provided by the Higher Education Department, showed that Jacob John was appointed to the post with effect from August 8, 2017.
Image used for representational purpose. (Photo | Wikimedia Commons)
Image used for representational purpose. (Photo | Wikimedia Commons)

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  The continuance in office of the Higher Secondary National Service Scheme (NSS) State programme coordinator Jacob John with yearly extensions after his initial appointment in 2017 is being cited as a violation of the NSS manual that lays down clear norms for appointment to the post. 

A reply to a Right to Information (RTI) query, provided by the Higher Education Department, showed that John was appointed to the post with effect from August 8, 2017. As per the NSS manual, the Plus Two level state programme coordinator has to be appointed on deputation / short-term contract for a period of three years and could be extended by one more year subject to satisfactory performance.

The RTI reply showed that John was appointed to the post six times, of which four orders issued by the Higher Education Department pertained to the extension of his tenure for a period of one year each. As per the NSS manual, the upper age limit of the programme coordinator is 50 years at the time of selection. It is pointed out that John, who is 52 at present, is ineligible for reappointment or extension of tenure.

As per the NSS manual, vacancies for the post should be advertised in the local and national dailies. The RTI reply however stated that no such advertisement was issued when John was selected. According to S Manoj of Aided Higher Secondary Teachers’ Association, who received the RTI reply, it has become clear that the initial selection process itself was not in order. 

When contacted for a response, the NSS state program coordinator said matters relating to re-appointment and extension of tenure were the government’s prerogative and that the decision was based on the incumbent official’s performance. 

“If you look at state programme coordinators in universities, hardly can you find an official who is below 50 years. It is on the basis of experience and expertise that such extensions in tenure are provided,” Jacob John reasoned. He said that the NSS manual, prepared way back in 2006 had many provisions that are set to be revised shortly.

State programme coordinator

  • Assists and guides the NSS units for the implementation of programmes
  • Helps in organising NSS camps, training and orientation programmes 
  • Visits the NSS units for monitoring and evaluation of their functioning.
  • Ensures implementation of NSS activities, and timely release of grants.

HS NSS wing 

  • Grant in aid schools - 613
  • Self-Functioning Units - 785
  • Model Residential Schools - 7
  • Programme Officers - 1,407
  • NSS Volunteers - 1.4 lakh

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