The appointments of 3,778 primary school teachers of the three municipal corporations of Delhi – north, south and east – were summarily cancelled by an order of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), on October 14, 2019. The order was issued on the basis of a petition challenging the results of the municipal teachers’ recruitment exam held by the Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board (DSSSB) in September-October, 2018, more than a year ago.
The teachers, who had been appointed to teach in over 1,600 schools of the three municipal corporations, spread across the city, were given their appointment letters recently and were expected to join for work on Oct 15.
The South Delhi Municipal Corporation, which is the nodal body for the three municipal corporations for appointment of teachers, issued a public notice late in the evening of October 14, saying, “The recruitment process…is hereby kept in abeyance till further order (from the CAT court). All appointment letters issued…are cancelled.” It may be noted that the same examination has been cancelled twice before, on the basis of allegations of “paper leaks”.
According to a petition filed in April 2019 by a group of concerned citizens, including lawyers and parents of school-going children of Delhi, the DSSSB had not even issued advertisements or invited applications for the posts of 10,591 teachers’ vacancies, as per the requirement stated by the Directorate of Education (DOE) of Delhi government, by April 7, 2019. The new school term begins from the first week of April each year.
On August 7, 2019, the Directorate of Education (DoE) of Delhi government, asked the Delhi High Court to allow guest teachers to continue working on a daily wage basis (on a salary of less than one-third the salary of regular teachers) till the 10,591 teachers’ posts lying vacant in Delhi government schools are filled. According to government figures there are nearly 17,000 guest teachers at present, teaching in government schools in different parts of Delhi.
Teachers of the more than 760 schools run by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation issued a press note on October 13, threatening to launch a protest because they have not been paid their salaries for the last two months — August and September. They have demanded the immediate payment of their wages.
Government schools are the main source of education for the vast majority of children of the working people in the cities and rural areas. The Indian state has followed a conscious policy of neglecting and destroying the state-run school education system, in order to promote privatisation of school education. School education is a huge, highly profitable market for the private capitalist groups, who are today widely and deeply entrenched in this sector. While the government schools face acute shortage of teachers as well as other vital resources, the private schools loot the working people by charging exorbitant fees, in the name of “providing quality education” to the children. Politicians of major political parties such as the Congress and the BJP are known to be the owners of many of these private institutions.
The criminal destruction of the state-run school system and the increasing privatisation of school education are mercilessly killing the dreams of millions of working people, of ensuring education and a better life for their children. It is a shameful indictment of the existing political and social system in our country.