The Kathmandu Post
- BINOD GHIMIRE - KATHMANDU, The government has bowed down before the protest of the teachers recruited under the relief quota and agreed to create permanent positions equal to their numbers.
A three-point agreement was signed between the protesting teachers and the officials at the Ministry of Education, in presence of representatives from Nepal Teachers Federation, on Thursday, which paves the way for the agitating teachers to get permanent postings without having to face an open competition.
As per the agreement, the government, after the study, will create permanent positions equal to the number of teachers under the relief and Early Childhood Development quotas and call the vacancies for permanent postings. There are over 38,000 teachers working under the relief and ECD quotas, a majority of whom were recruited based on political or bureaucratic nexus.
In 2010, Education Minister Ram Chandra Kushwaha , a leader of Tarai-Madhesh Loktantrik Party in the Madhav Nepal-led government, was sacked for his alleged involvement in an irregularity while recruiting hundreds of teachers under the quota.
The teachers for permanent positions will be recruited through internal and open competition, according to the agreement. Though the share of internal and open competition has not been specified, the agreement has paved the way for permanent recruitment of thousands of teachers who entered the teaching profession without facing any test or competition.
In the lack of adequate teachers, the government in 2008 created temporary teaching positions by introducing the relief quota. The relief teachers were entitled to fixed salary, though lower than the pay scale enjoyed by permanent and temporary teachers.
“We have finally got justice. We believe the agreement will soon translate into implementation,” Khem Raj Adhikari, chairperson of Rahat Shikshak Rastriya Samiti (National Committee of the Teachers under Relief Quota) told the Post.
The agreement comes at a time when thousands of temporary teachers are getting permanent postings through internal competition. The temporary teachers who could secure just pass marks are getting the permanent posting.
Meanwhile, education experts have said that the government move will prevent the entry of fresh candidates in the teaching profession. This, they claim, will further deteriorate the quality of education in public schools.
“Teachers should be recruited only on merit basis. The provision to hold internal competition for the recruitment stops the entry of new minds in the teaching profession,” said Binay Kusiyat, a Tribhuvan University professor, who has undertaken several researches in the field.
He argues that the quality of education in the public education sector is never going to improve unless there are competent teachers. He says open competition should be the only criteria for recruitment of teachers to ensure the entry of competent human resource.