CHENNAI: Over a lakh candidates have applied to the 422 temporary teacher vacancies created by the suspension of government teachers who are participating in the ongoing indefinite strike, said a senior official from the School Education Department. Members from Joint Action Council of Tamil Nadu Teachers' Organisations and Government Employees' Organisations (JACTTO-GEO) are on strike since January 22 urging the government to meet their nine-point demand, including pay hike.
In a bid to bring the strike to an end and reopen the schools, the School Education Department has decided to appoint temporary teachers, if the association does not withdraw the strike by Monday evening. "We want to restore normalcy in schools and reopen the ones that have been closed. We will take any step to ensure that the exam schedule of students are not disturbed," the official said.
Even though more than a lakh teachers have applied for the limited posts, not many of them will be qualified, according to the official .
"Only about two-thirds of them would have cleared Teacher's Eligibility Test (TET). We will still have enough candidates, even after filtering," he said. Members from the association however argued that temporary teachers will not have the competency of the existing staff and will not be able to give the right guidance for students before exams.
Creating more incentives for teachers to return to work, the School Education Department issued a circular to all Chief Education Officers on Monday informing that the teachers who return to their jobs will be given preference for transfers to fill in the vacancy created by the suspension. However, members of the association deemed this as a move to disrupt the unity among the teachers.
The department had already issued a circular over the weekend promising teachers that no disciplinary action will be taken against them if they return to work on Monday. The circular said that teachers' salary will be cut under the 'no work no pay' policy, for the days they absented themselves.
Children from a few schools in the State held protests outside their schools asking their teachers to come back to work. In some schools students, in fact supported their teachers and condemned the government suspending them.
The association has a nine-point demand list in which they urged the government to repeal the new pension scheme and revert to the old one, settle a 21-month pay arrears according to the new pay commissions guidelines, settle pay anomalies for secondary teachers and regularise the jobs of part-time staff and teachers working at Anganwadis. In addition to these, the association has asked the government to not employ elementary school teachers in Anganwaadis.