Forced Legitimacy vs Genuine Rights: Dissecting the GTA Teachers’ Recruitment Scam

Forced Legitimacy

Forced Legitimacy vs Genuine Rights, a debate that has been raging across the hills with reference to the recruitment of the Teachers’ in the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration has been dissected by our columnist Bicky

If not anything else, it is very safe to say on this day that education system in the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) region is in a deplorable state – no thanks to the corrupt, insincere or indifferent leaders in the state and the regional level.

The GTA Teachers’ recruitment drives of 2017 and 2019, and the unauthorized and inconclusive GTA TET exam are presently under inspection among other things, and it is only of recent, that the irregularities in the education system in the GTA area is undergoing a legal scrutiny. Irregularities in the GTA recruitment have been pointed out by the people, on multiple occasions, as an efficient instrument of the ruling party to garner votes, raise funds, and to benefit the party’s cadre base and their families.

What is more interesting is the mudslinging that has become rampant over social media in the backdrop of the ongoing legal case about the 313 volunteer teachers getting regularized in 2019.

In one such incidents, one regularized volunteer teachers from Mamrik Toryok School, wrote a comment against a post by an activist asking “tero baw le diyeko naukari ho ra?”. On digging into some other posts, it came to highlight how some people from the same group were putting forth desperate arguments in a language that would not be dignified for any teacher. It is true that it isn’t just anyone’s father that gave them the job, but whosoever did, did not do it in the right way – and that is what the entire fiasco is about.

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Apart from that, “kasaiko baw le naukari deko ta haina hola, tara sabaiko baw le ra sabaile tireko tax ko paisa le betan awcha”, so why wouldn’t the people raise questions?

The kind of forced and outright legitimacy that is visible, without an iota of logical thinking, makes it necessary that a deeper look into the matter is made.

The regularized teachers legitimize their claim saying that they deserved the jobs because they were serving as volunteers in the same schools for years. While at first, we need to understand that the regularization process overtly goes against the norms laid down by the NCTE that all the appointing authorities should follow for teachers’ recruitment, it also violates the Article 16 of the Constitution of India that guarantees equality of opportunity in public employment for all citizens. The term volunteer in itself means a person who “freely” offers to take part in an enterprise or undertake a task. Very interestingly, the claims on the jobs are made over something that is “voluntarily done”.

Even if for a moment we consider that giving away jobs to the volunteer teachers was right, we come up to question how the volunteer teachers were selected. Was a fair and open opportunity given to everyone to compete for the volunteer posts? Was the information dissemination done freely and fairly? Was everyone who got regularized, actually a “volunteer teacher”?

There have been accusations where multiple relatives of politicians who are influential have been appointed overnight without volunteering. There have been accusations of people teaching part time in colleges getting appointed overnight without volunteering (an RTI in the concerned college could produce all the pay slips of the individual), there are accusations that people working abroad got employed overnight, accusations of a lobby of certain people working hand in hand with the erstwhile District Inspector of Schools in finalizing employments, accusations of people having to pay money to get the appointments made, accusations of political leaders getting employed themselves, accusations of “para teachers”(teachers signing bond with the school that they would never demand regularisation) being turned into volunteers in the records and given employment. The gravity of these allegations is for the time to unveil and for the court to ascertain.

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There are cases where people legitimate their claim citing their eligibility, while others use their quality, qualification and potential. Does it matter? It doesn’t matter if one is eligible, most qualified or most deserving for the job unless and until it is proven through proper and fair competition.

What is happening now, is a result of the vague policies put into practice by certain political leaders just to gather crowd in their rallies, expand their vote-banks or fill their coffers. The legality of the recruitments can be very well concluded by how the State Government raised their hands in the High Court and left it to the court’s discretion to cancel the appointments.

We are mistaken if we think that the 313 and the 439 teaching posts just affect those who are employed there or those who made these appointments. The future of thousands of kids, who come out of the most deprived corners in the hills is at stake. While they deserve the best of the best teachers to guide them through, they are having to settle with appointments that have been a result of a lack in administrative acumen, alleged corruption or a mere case of compromise. Thousands and thousands of highly educated and able candidates from the hills, who are far better in all aspects to most in these lots in 439 or 313, are floating around in the private schools, from our own localities, to the rural areas of places as far as Bihar, for meagre salaries of 10k to 20k.

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This is the legacy that our politicians have created.

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