Kerala passes landmark bill that guarantees better pay, benefits for teachers, staff in private colleges

The bill has been put in place to safeguard the unaided college employees regarding benefits such as salary, allowance, insurance and leave
Kerala's Higher Education Minister R Bindu | Pic: Facebook
Kerala's Higher Education Minister R Bindu | Pic: Facebook

To take care of and guarantee service conditions for employees in private colleges across the state, the Kerala Assembly passed the pivotal Kerala Self-Financing College Teaching and Non-Teaching Employees (Appointment and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2021. This will ensure benefits such as salary, allowance, insurance and leave at the same level as the government and aided colleges. The Bill was unanimously passed by the state legislature after it was spearheaded by the Higher Education Minister R Bindu on October 11 and subsequently referred to the Subject Committee on Education.

The legislation which comes as per the recommendation of the Kerala State Higher Education Council is seen as a move that would standardise rules to ensure service conditions for those employed in the unaided sector. Educational agencies and employees will be needed to enter into agreements that specify conditions, including post, scale of pay, increment, grade, promotion, period of appointment, salary allowance and overtime duty. The age limit for appointments and retirements will be as per norms laid down by regulatory bodies.

As a result, unqualified employees will be needed to meet eligibility norms set by the UGC and other regulatory bodies within a set time-frame. The employees will also be able to appeal against disciplinary actions taken by private college managements before the respective universities. According to Devaswom Minister K Radhakrishnan, the government was duty-bound to act in the interest of upholding academic quality since there have been various occasions when employees have been subjected to exploitation due to an absence of regulations concerning their welfare. Former Higher Education Minister KT Jaleel also encouraged Health Minister Veena George to put in place a similar legislation for nearly 500 private colleges affiliated to the Kerala University of Health Sciences.

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