The government has promised an “early and amicable” solution to the problems confronting some 24,000 temporary teachers. The agitating teachers of public schools from 56 districts took to the capital streets on November 11 demanding that they be made permanent. They had also submitted a memorandum to the Ministry of Education and Sports containing a seven-point charter of demands, which included, inter alia, the formation of integrated education development programmes. The officials at the ministry say that the teachers need to wait patiently for the publication of the results of the exams conducted by the Teachers’ Service Commission some time ago so that those who pass can be granted the permanent status. The government had reached an agreement with the joint teachers’ struggle committee two years ago to make only 50 per cent of the temporarily working and displaced teachers permanent. But now the teachers are demanding that all of them be made permanent.

There are two aspects to this problem. On the one hand, there is a lot of genuine temporary teachers who have been serving for a long time, and thus on humanitarian grounds, their cases should be given special consideration. The silver lining in the dark cloud here is that the government has now promised to consider the cases of even those who fail the exams. On the other hand, it is important for the government to formulate realistic policies in order to

improve the quality of education in the country.

In actuality, the problem rests with the way of functioning of the entire system. After all, the rising number of temporary teachers over the years and the inability of the authorities to make permanent the services of the good teachers and drop the incompetent ones only indicates ad hocism over which the country has wasted so much time and resources. There is thus a need to develop a ‘think well in advance’ culture so that problems do not accumulate unnecessarily over the years.