The state education department has proposed a revision in the rules of the School Service Commission (SSC) and Teachers Eligibility Test (TET) to pave the way for a transparent and simplified recruitment process. The move comes in the wake of multiple allegations and court battles in connection with SSC recruitment over the last few years

“We have gone through all SSC-related documents and are heading towards a change in the SSC rules. If things go as planned the rules would be changed before the next SSC examination. This will bring in more transparency in the system,” said state education minister Partha Chatterjee in the state Assembly today. According to the proposed revision, selection of candidates would be done through the process of elimination and the department would publish only the list of selected candidates. “There is no meaning in publishing a waiting list,” said Mr Chatterjee at his chamber later.

For a vacancy of 10 teaching posts, the merit list would now have the names of exactly 10 candidates. Presently, the names of 14 candidates are published against 10 vacant posts. The proposed revised SSC rules have been sent for Cabinet approval and are expected to be introduced from the next examination onwards. The decision to do away with the publication of the waiting list comes a few months after some of the SSC qualified candidates staged a sit-in demonstration under the banner of SSC Yuva Chhatra Adhikar Manch near Calcutta Press Club in the city.

The 300-odd protesters alleged that many of the selected candidates scored less than those on the waiting list. They demanded that marks of all the selected candidates be declared. The protesting candidates had alleged that thousands of seats are lying vacant across schools in the state but they were jobless. They alleged that though their names were in the waiting list. Also, while there were 18,000 vacancies, 12,000 were empanelled while 6,000 were on waiting list.

The department has now proposed not to publish the waiting list at all. The next norm that has been proposed for revision includes introduction of online procedure for declaration of vacancies. “The schools would upload their vacancies online and the school education department would allot teachers accordingly. This system would do away with the role of district inspectors of schools, who presently forward the schools’ vacancy lists to the department,” said Mr Chatterjee.

Further, Mr Chatterjee announced in the House that guest lecturers, who had recently sought chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s intervention, would get weightage in the College Service Commission examination if they are eligible under the UGC norms. There are 2500 guest lecturers who have been recruited by the managing committees of colleges without the state government’s permission. Out of these guest lecturers, 40 per cent qualify the UGC eligibility norms.

Refuting the Opposition’s allegations of the state government’s dragging its feet on recruitment, Mr Chatterjee said that in 2011, there were 1,09,794 primary teachers and in 2019 the figure has gone up to 2,16,381. In the upper primary level, there were 1,16,051 teachers in 2011 and in 2019, there are 1,13,936 teachers and the appointment of another 14,000 is in process.

The education minister also stressed that the government is trying to rationalise the teacher-student ratio by removing teachers from schools where the number of students is low and placing them in schools where student density is high. He said that the state government is keen to fill up all the vacant posts in schools. “I had discussion with the Chief Minister and we hope to complete the recruitment by July this year”.