The Gyan Sahayak Scheme is a recent initiative launched by the Gujarat state government. Its main goal is to solve the problem of teacher shortages in government and grant-in-aid schools, especially in Mission Schools of Excellence. This scheme, announced in July, plans to appoint teachers on a temporary, contractual basis until regular appointments are made.
Gyan Shayak Objective and Background
The basic aim of the Gyan Sahayak Scheme is to keep the education system functioning by filling teacher vacancies temporarily. The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 is the starting point of this scheme, focusing on developing varied skills in teachers and reaching beyond their academic expertise. This approach fits with the greater educational purpose of developing communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills among students.
Gujarat faces a significant number of teacher vacancies, estimated at 32,000. To address this, the government plans to recruit 15,000 Gyan Sahayaks for primary schools and 11,500 for secondary and higher secondary schools. Specific vacancies, like the Gyan Sahayak (Madhyamik) positions, are also stated to maintain a balanced teacher-student ratio across different mediums of instruction.
Salary Structure and Selection Procedure
The salary for Gyan Sahayaks is set based on the school level they are appointed to, with Rs 21,000 for primary, Rs 24,000 for secondary, and Rs 26,000 for higher secondary schools. They are hired on an 11-month contract, with a performance review at the end to determine the possibility of a new contract.
The application window was open from September 4–16, 2023. To be eligible, candidates need to clear specific examinations like the Teachers Eligibility Test (TET)-2 for primary schools and the Teacher Aptitude Test (TAT) for secondary and higher secondary schools. A merit list is then prepared based on examination results for the final selection process.
The Gyan Sahayak Scheme has faced opposition from various groups, including political parties, teacher associations, and student organizations. This scheme which will hire teachers on an 11-month contract, has not been liked by many who desire permanent positions for teachers. Political parties, especially the Congress and AAP, have shown their displeasure towards the scheme, worried that it may lead to the privatisation of schools.
Teachers, school associations, and students have come together in their opposition to the scheme. Their main concern revolves around the quality of education that would be provided by temporary, contractual teachers. They worry that these teachers may lack a long-term dedication to the students’ learning process.
Parents share similar concerns, fearing that the temporary duration of these teaching positions might interfere with the educational experience of their children. They would prefer teachers who have a stable, long-term engagement with the schools. Various actions have been taken to protest against the scheme. For instance, a foot march was organized as a sign of protest, and representations have been submitted to the government to reconsider the scheme.