December 28, 2006

Putting teachers in under-staffed rural schools

I am not a government school teacher. Which is, probably, why I see the Karnataka ordinance on teacher transfers as a refreshingly radical move. For those who missed it, the Karnataka State Civil Services (regulation of transfers of teachers) Ordinance, 2006, stipulates a compulsory five-year stint in rural schools for all government school teachers in Karnataka.

Provacation for bringing in the ordinance ought to be obvious to everyone, other than, perhaps, those politicians and officials who thrive on transfers trade. The government move is bound to cause panic among teachers, notably, the city-bred who have so far evaded transfer to rural schools, through political connection, contacts in higher bureaucracy, or, plainly, through currency persuasion.

Transfer-dodgers, below 53, better be ready to be moved to a zone ‘C’ school, which could be anywhere beyond 15 km from their city municipal limits. Luckier ones could get placed in ‘B’ zone, that is in a school within 15 km of the city limits. The ‘B’ zone schools are also categorized as rural, though they may be within commuting distance from an urban centre.

If the ordinance is enforced effectively, and, if the ruling coalition has the political will, our city-bred teachers would do well to get used to rural living.

1 comment:

anjali said...

Hello. This is my first time commenting on your blog. I enjoy reading your blog, and have been following it for some time now.

I don't see the big benefit in forcing teachers to move to rural areas. While I understand that some have resisted a move by resorting to underhanded means, I can also see many teachers now having to stay away from their families or having to give up their profession because of a compulsory move. And, I cannot imagine that someone who is not interested in moving to a rural area would make a very motivated teacher.

Forcing teachers to take up rural assignments seems a bit harsh to me. Cracking the whip on teachers rather than the politicians and officials who encourage the transfer trade appears misplaced.

I think the system might be better served if the government focuses on developing a teaching community that wants to work in rural areas. Students will probably benefit more with a group of motivated teachers rather than disgruntled ones. Alternatively, teachers in urban schools who opt for a rural assignment could be offered a chance at promotion or a faster career track (kind of like in nationalised banks).