Published: 12th February 2021
Higher Secondary principal post: Government told to amend Special Rules
Kerala Administrative Tribunal wants special rules of 2001 related to appointment of principals amended within 2 months based on a complaint from aggrieved higher secondary teachers
The state government may not be able to drag its feet anymore on a 2018 recommendation by the Higher Secondary Directorate that only Higher Secondary School Teachers (HSSTs) should be considered for the post of principal in schools with Plus-II section. Based on a complaint from aggrieved higher secondary teachers, the Kerala Administrative Tribunal (KAT) has directed the state government to amend within two months the Higher Secondary Special Rules of 2001.
It was based on the decades-old Special Rules that one-third of principal posts were also set apart for headmasters through promotion. The tribunal also directed the state government to keep in abeyance all further proceedings to fill up the post of principal, pending finalisation of the amendment of Special Rules.
TNIE had on January 24 reported that though only one-third of the principal posts are set apart for headmasters, they had occupied a majority of these posts. RTI documents accessed by TNIE showed that while 102 mathematics HSSTs retired over the past four years, 72 of these vacancies were filled through the promotion of headmasters. Only 26 HSSTs were promoted to the principal post during the same period.
The norm, setting apart one-third of the principal post for headmasters, was introduced as the eligibility criteria for the post was 12 years’ teaching experience and there weren’t enough Plus-II teachers who fulfilled that criteria in 2001.
In 2018, the Higher Secondary Directorate wrote to the government saying HSSTs have already exceeded the 12 years’ service norm. Since a sufficient number of eligible teachers are now available in the higher secondary section, the Special Rules should be amended and the quota for school headmasters should be scrapped. However, the state government chose to ignore the recommendation, reportedly due to pressure from school teachers’ associations.
“We have always been demanding that recruitment to the post of principal, which is a teaching post, should always be from among higher secondary teachers to maintain the high academic standards in the sector. We hope the government will consider this demand favourably,” said Anil M George, general secretary, Higher Secondary School Teachers’ Association (HSSTA).