Over 800 govt-aided schools in Gujarat without principals

Vacancies

As many as 800 government-aided secondary schools in Gujarat have been functioning without a principal for almost a year now, thanks to the state government's decision last year to place the recruitment process under the control of a committee under the Education Department.

On November 30, 2011, the Education Department placed advertisements to fill 1,089 posts of principals. So far, only 285 have been appointed. Under new recruitment rules, aspirants have to clear a centralised recruitment test, Teachers' Aptitude Test (TAT).

Earlier, principals of the 5,500-odd grant-in-aid secondary schools in the state were appointed by Sanchalak Mandals or management committees and each appointment had to be sanctioned by the respective district education officers.

These Sanchalak Mandals had challenged the state Education Department's notification of February 2011 that introduced a centralised process for recruitment of principals.

Joint Education Director (Secondary) E P Desai, who is handling these appointments, said, "Since the matter is sub judice, there is little the Education Department can do. The final appointing authority is still the Mandal, which has to approve appointments made by the centralised committee headed by Commissioner (Schools)."

However, Jagdish Pandya, general secretary of the Sanchalak Mandal for Ahmedabad, termed the 285 appointments made by the Education Department as illegal. "These posts were filled illegally. The committee has no power for appointments. We have several related judgments of the High Court supporting our case."

As per amended recruitment rules, 70 per cent weightage is given to a candidate's TAT score while the remaining 30 per cent is assigned to his experience and qualification.

More than 5,000 candidates took the TAT exam conducted earlier this year and around 2,900 were able to clear it.

Around 17-18 lakh students are enrolled in 5,500 grant-in-aid secondary schools in the state.

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