Friday, May 24, 2024

Has Dadenggre messed up the latest teacher recruitment?


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Biplab Kr Dey

Tura, May 15: Education, especially in the Garo Hills region has been in the limelight over the years for its poor infrastructure, lack of teachers, quality of education, proxy teachers among others. It has also thrown up the occasional fake certificates.

The state earlier has thrown upon us a scam in the education department (aptly called education scam) in which hundreds of teachers lost their jobs after being found out as unqualified, over age

However, recent findings of two aspiring teachers from the plain belt of West Garo Hills, has once again thrown up the scepter of a scam of massive proportions that could rock the state once again. And what is worse, it could begin from the Dadenggre sub-division in West Garo Hills.

Recently 34 teachers from the unreserved category were given teaching jobs after completing the due interview process. While there was nothing wrong in the entire process what came about later has become a picture of gross violations.

As per the findings of the two aspiring teachers, the entire process was biased to allow only those that actually got the teaching jobs despite there being more qualified people to teach children.

Istiak Alom is a MTET and D.El.Ed passed teacher from DIET, Tura and is also a non practising lawyer. Alom revealed earlier that questions of the validity of appointment could be raised in 32 out of the 34 jobs that were provided by the SDSEO of Dadenggre.

“Where was the scrutiny of certificates that were provided? If as residents of the country we can, through RTI’s find out the validity of certificates provided by candidates, is it not the duty of the education department to verify these documents? After all these are teachers that will educate the next generation of children,” said Istiak.

For the state, the Supreme Court ruling on 18 months D.El.Ed being invalid has literally skewed proceedings. While a notification to the effect by the state is yet to be served, things could very quickly go south if the matter is raised on the national forum. After all, the state education department cannot consider itself greater than the SC or for that matter the NCTE.

What is even more ironic is the fact that to even appear for MTET, one needs to have a 2 year D.El.Ed diploma as per the notification of the state in the years 2018, 2021 and 2023. However during recruitment of teachers, all these were thrown out of the window in an inexplicable move. This, in itself, has raised many questions.

While the state may have not formulated a notification, nothing has stopped them from ensuring those that were recruited were actually genuine in their candidature. The haste in which appointment letters were provided without verifying documents, points to uncontrollable things taking place in the background.

“There were so many schools which went without teaching staff in Garo Hills for 3-4 years. At that time there was no hurry in filling up these vacancies by the education department. This has led to an increase in the dropout rates of children. If you did nothing then, why the hurry now,” asked a resident of Tura on condition of anonymity.

Two FIRs have been filed by the aspiring teachers against two appointments that were made in Dadenggre after RTIs were received by them. One of them had Hindi as a subject but miraculously got an Assamese teaching job. Red flags should have been raised immediately but none ever was.

Upon being contacted on the matter, the SDSEO of Dadenggre, ED Sangma claimed that the verification of documents did actually take place but they were short-handed.

“Firstly the state did not come up with a notification on 18 months D.El.Ed so we allowed all of them to apply. Secondly we did not have enough time to send letters to all the Universities that these candidates had passed from. We are, however, inquiring into the matter,” said Sangma over phone.

When asked as to why genuine candidates with degrees from the state itself were overlooked during the process to allow for people with questionable degrees, he did not have an answer.

A total of 192 vacant posts were available for the sub division of Dadenggre of which 2 appointed teachers did not turn up.

When speaking on the recruitment process, the Director of School, Literacy and Education (DSEL) Swapnil Tembe stated that all district nodal officers were in-charge of the recruitment process and verification was to be done of documents by the SDSEO. This puts the blame directly on the office of the SDSEO for what could turn into a moment of embarrassment for the government.

What is even more interesting in the matter is that not questions can not only be raised on the recruitment of 34 unreserved category teachers but even those in the reserved category as more information on what happened is seeping through.

For those that want to feel the tip of the iceberg, just go through some of the findings below:

The case of the 2 teachers against whom cases have been filed are well documented.

Next, of 12 teachers that have been appointed, all have passed their diploma from the state of Assam through the Open Distance Learning (ODL) method under the state’s State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) and this is where everything is wrong.

As per the criteria stated on the Assam state’s SCERT website, ODL is only available for residents of Assam who are already in-service teachers in schools. However the 12 newly appointed teachers, despite being permanent residents of the state of Meghalaya, were still able to obtain D.El.Ed certificates from the state and produce these to secure jobs in Meghalaya.

“What they are doing is wrong, morally and legally. In which state is ODL a degree that can get you government jobs? Further when there are regular candidates who have gone through the grind, why the preference for questionable degree/diploma holders,” asked Salim Biswas, an aspirant teacher.

What will be really worrying for the state and its focus on education is the fact that given the fact that some many of these teachers have been appointed with only 18 months ODL D.El.Ed. what happens when the NCTE comes calling. The SC has made it clear that the 18 months course is only for in-term teachers’ enhancement and cannot be applied to new appointments.

The question now is when the NCTE comes calling, will those that have been recruited, be shown the door. The Garo Hills region has suffered for years over the lack of educators (forget quality educators) and if the NCTE cracks down on the state over the SC verdict, the state will once again be plunged into a similar situation. Short sighted thinking can never be good in the long run.


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