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Interview for selection of teachers

Punjab Education Minister Upinderjit Kaur’s assertion that interview will be part of the selection process of teachers to fill 40,000 vacancies in schools has caused a flutter among unemployed teachers (March 15).

Why do unemployed prospective teachers feel upset? Unfortunately, there is growing feeling among the youth against the fairness of interviews as part of the selection process. What gives sustenance to their demand of scrapping the interview is the precedent set by the previous regime when it filled vacancies of 2614 government school teachers solely on the basis of academic merit.

The selection process the Amarinder Singh government followed at the fag end of its tenure was called ‘fair’ and ‘transparent’. It should be borne in mind that the important question is not the ‘selection process’ but the ‘selection of the best teachers’.

Every one knows the constraints under which examinations are held and evaluation is done. To make academic merit the sole criterion for the selection of school teachers cannot be justified by any objective standard particularly at a time when school education in Punjab is increasingly becoming irrelevant to the fast changing needs of the job market.

In teaching, the teacher’s personality is very important that only the candidates with most suitable personality traits as teachers be selected. Here lies the challenge and opportunity not only to give Punjab the best teachers in tune with the changing needs but also to restore the sagging confidence of the majority of the youth in the fairness and efficacy of interviews as a part of fair, transparent and effective selection process.

J.S. BRAR,Patiala


 

II

The Minister’s statement on interviews is quite reasonable. A candidate’s communication skills and mental ability cannot be judged by his academic merit alone. Academic merit might have been obtained by cramming, guess work or by adopting unfair means.

Moreover, the percentage scored some years back cannot be compared with one’s current scoring as the system of education, syllabi, types of questions, examination and evaluation have all undergone a sea change. The academic record of old candidates cannot be competitive with the current high scoring pattern.

Thus, there is need for introducing written test also. The final merit should be prepared by combining a candidate’s academic record, written test and interview to assess his/her true worth. Interviews are helpful only if they are conducted in an impartial manner.

SUKHDEV SINGH MINHAS, Mohali

 

Make farm panel broadbased

Looking at the present-day composition of the farm panel constituted by the Punjab government, to optimise farm activity, one gets an impression that only two activities — agriculture and animal husbandry — are considered essential for tackling Punjab’s farming sector.

The most important activity — irrigation or water management — cannot be ignored if the performance of the farm sector is to be optimised. So, the farm panel should be constituted by including experts in irrigation. This will indeed help improve the performance of the farming sector to the optimum level.

Dr G. S. DHILLON, Chandigarh

Shakeup in Punjab

A new regime normally transfers the officers to give a new face to the government. But it has hardly seen the removal of most efficient, honest and capable officers to insignificant posts where they have no work.

The change of senior IAS officers K.R. Lakhanpal (Chief Secretary till recently) and Izar Alam, who were once favourites of the Akalis are now almost doing nothing as they have no work in their new seats. The new government should be more concerned about Punjab’s welfare first and play politics later.

Instead of shuffling such stalwarts who have done so much for the state during their long service for over three decades, the new government should make best use of them in day-to-day governance.

KULDIP KHANNA, Patiala

LPG misuse

I refer to the half-page advertisement (March 7) regarding domestic LPG supply by the Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. These ads have no affect at all in the context of their blatant misuse for commercial purposes. LPG cylinders are openly mis(used) at all eating places, sweet shops, roadside stalls, rehris and at railway stations. The same is the case with automobiles being run on LPG. The agencies concerned have no will to enforce their own rules.

The government and oil companies waste public money on useless advertisements. The Petroleum Minister claims Rs 5,000 crore subsidy on domestic LPG or kerosene oil. Most of this money goes down the drain.

Dr KEWAL KRISHAN GUPTA, Amritsar
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