M A I N   N E W S

1,175 Punjab schools sans principal for a decade
Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, January 5
Improving the quality of education in government schools seems to be just another agenda on the list of things to do for the SAD-BJP coalition government in Punjab. Other than speaking about “adarsh schools”, the current government has been no different from the previous Congress regime as both failed to appoint principals in majority of the senior secondary schools.

Of the total 1,573 sanctioned posts of principals in these schools, 1,175 have been lying vacant for a decade now. The number of vacant posts stood even higher at 1,358, but for the 183 promotions of vocational teachers as principals that took place last month.

And things are not expected to change even in the days to come. For, the urgency of the government to fill up these posts could well be gauged from the fact that the last set of promotions to these posts (apart from those done last month) took place in 2001. The Departmental Promotion Committee (DPC) that approves lecturers, headmasters and vocational masters for promotion to head senior secondary schools as principals has postponed or cancelled its meeting 17 times. The last one was scheduled to be held yesterday, but was postponed yet again. This time, the education secretary had gone on leave.

According to rules, each meeting of the DPC has to be attended by three representatives of the government, including the education secretary. Even if one of the three is absent, the meeting has to be put off.

And the 183 promotions too have invited a controversy, with the teachers ruing “the number was much beyond the quota reserved for vocational teachers”. The Punjab government notified new promotion rules in December 2004 and reserved 55 per cent slots for lecturers, 30 per cent for headmasters and 15 per cent for vocational teachers. The other categories claim that only vocational teachers appointed after the notification of new rules were eligible for promotion.

About 750 cases of lecturers and 148 cases of headmasters are pending before the government for appointment as principals. According to the government classification, teachers in senior secondary schools teaching Plus One and Plus Two classes were designated lecturers and those heading high schools were designated headmasters or headmistresses. Both of them were eligible for promotion as principals of senior secondary schools.

Notably, many aspirants for the posts of principals are even MPhil and PhD and opted for the teaching job seeing better avenues for promotion.

Those awaiting promotions include teachers who joined service way back in 1983. Contrarily, the 183 vocational teachers promoted as principals last month were matriculates having diploma in a particular trade.



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