KATHMANDU, May 11: More than 23,000 posts for teachers are lying vacant across the country, states a new report by Teacher Service Commission (TSC).
The TSC had recently asked all 75 District Education Offices (DEOs) to collect data on vacant posts for teachers following the passing of an amended education regulation that paved the way for an open competition for fulfilling the vacant posts. Having compiled the reports submitted by the DEOs, the TSC has put the total number of vacant posts at 23,361.
A majority of vacant teacher posts -- 15,207 to be precise -- are at primary level. Similarly, there are 4,624 posts vacant at the lower secondary and 3,530 at secondary level. The Ministry of Education (MoE) has sanctioned a total of 107,853 permanent posts for teachers so far.
“We have asked the DEOs to update if any teacher resigned or retired since the reports were sent to us,” said Megh Bahadur KC, Recommendation Section Chief at the TSC, adding, “We have also asked them to inform us if any school had been left out while collecting the data. Therefore, the total number of vacant posts is likely to increase, probably by a few hundreds, by the time we will publish an advertisement for the vacant posts.”
Principally, vacant posts for teachers should be fulfilled through an open or internal competition annually. However, not a single open competition for the posts has been conducted since 1996. The result of the last competition, too, was published after eight years.
An uncertain process
If everything had gone as planned, the TSC would have been busy, by this time, in conducting an open competition for filling vacant posts. However, the TSC is yet to publish an advertisement for the vacant posts.
There are two main reasons behind the delay in publishing the advertisement for vacant posts for teachers: an ongoing agitation by temporary teachers demanding internal competition and a confusion regarding the role of community schools. “As soon as these problems are solved, we will publish an advertisement,” TSC Chairman Uday Raj Soti told Republica. “Perhaps, we will publish an advertisement before this fiscal year ends.”
A struggle committee formed by temporary teachers has long been demanding that the TSC appoint them in vacant posts through an internal competition. They have even rejected an offer by the TSC, which has assured them of providing an additional 12 marks in written exams.
“We can not compete with fresh teachers even if we get grace marks,” Nirendra Kunwar, coordinator of the struggle committee, said. “Hence, we are for an internal competition instead of open one.”
Similarly, the government has handed over the rights of appointing teachers in community schools to communities causing further confusion. “We are confused as to whether we should fill the vacant posts in community schools or just leave them vacant,” Soti said.
The MoE has set a plan to lay off all temporary teachers by 2070 BS. All temporary teachers have to secure permanent posts through a competition in three years´ time.