KATHMANDU, May 14: With a proposal for amending the Education Act-1971 forwarded to the bill committee of the cabinet on Friday, temporary teachers, who are hell-bent on foiling the government´s move to fill over 23,000 vacant teacher posts through open competition, are likely to get a chance to compete among themselves for permanent tenure.
Giving in to temporary teachers´ continuing protests, the Ministry of Education (MoE) recently tabled a proposal in the cabinet for amending the Act. Once Parliament passes the proposal, the Teacher Service Commission (TSC) will be allowed to conduct internal exams for temporary teachers.
TSC had delayed the open exam for filling vacant process after MoE tabled an amendment in the cabinet. “We had to proceed to amend the act as it hindered addressing the demands of temporary teachers,” Education Secretary Shankar Prasad Pandey said. Under the act, TSC must hold open competition for filling vacant posts.
If TSC allows temporary teachers to secure permanent posts through internal exam, it will bar thousands of youths from entering the profession.
Altogether 503,768 youths have obtained teaching licenses. They are eagerly waiting for TSC to announce open competitions. If the act is amended to favor temporary teachers, they will not be able to prove themselves in open competition.
Temporary teachers to continue stir
A struggle committee formed by temporary teachers has vowed to continue their agitation until the act is amended. Nirendra Kunwar, coordinator of the committee, said. “We will announce an end to our struggle only when parliament amends the act.” The committee staged a sit-in at MoE on Friday as well.
Temporary teachers have long pressed for internal exams citing an agreement in 2004 promising to amend the act in their favor.
Two years later, following the April uprising that toppled monarchy, another deal was signed promising to allow all temporary teachers appointed before April 24, 2006 -- the day King Gyanendra stepped down - to vie among themselves for permanent posts.
However, temporary teachers allege that Speaker Subash Nembang changed the spirit of the deal when a proposal in this regard was passed by parliament. “He insisted on open competition,” Kunwar said.
Recently, temporary teachers launched fresh agitations following passage of education regulations that paved the way for TSC to fill vacancies. They have rejected an MoE offer, under which they will get 12 marks extra while competing with fresh teaching license holders.
“We have spent all our youthful years teaching,” Kunwar said. “Now, the government says we should vie with youth candidates to secure our jobs. This is unacceptable.”