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Graft ails teachers' recruitment

Last updated: 09 October, 2009
Shruba Mukherjee, NEW DELHI, DHNS: 1:41 IST

World Bank concerned over ‘sale of teaching posts’ in India

Notwithstanding the government’s tall claims about education reforms, the World Bank has observed that corruption in teachers’ recruitment was a major factor responsible for the poor quality of teaching in the country.

In a recent report on the status of secondary education in India, the international body has expressed concern about practices like ‘sale of teaching posts’.

“Teacher candidates are frequently required to pay between Rs 1,00,000-2,00,000 in order to be selected, usually to the school headmaster,” the World Bank said, citing a study on financing of secondary education.

“In such a situation, the school headmaster is in a poor position to insist on greater teacher accountability, which reveals the weaknesses of unsupervised local hiring,” the world body said in a document titled ‘Secondary Education in India: Universalising Opportunity’.

According to the report, government secondary school teachers are civil servants enjoying the same rights and privileges as other state-level civil servants in terms of job security, pension and pay increases (de-linked from performance), which are implemented from time to time. The proposals for recruitment, placement and transfer of government teachers are often subjected to political interference, which further reduces accountability.

“Once hired, it is nearly impossible to fire a government teacher, who typically has strong support from teacher unions and has immediate recourse to the judicial system to oppose any administrative measures,” the report said.

“Indeed, literally tens of thousands of court cases involving teachers are pending across the country, which freeze the implementation of administrative measures, tie up the administrators’ time in courts and dissuade any future attempts to enforce teacher accountability,” it added. Even with respect to private aided schools, teacher accountability has progressively declined.

Identifying the factors responsible for the weakening of accountability in India’s education system, the World Bank said the growth of educational administration had not kept pace with that of the school system, particularly at the district and sub-district levels.

In many states, education officers were skeletal and even sanctioned posts were unfulfilled for lack of qualified persons or because court cases were pending, the report said.

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