Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tribunal for private educational institutions

The government plans a National Teachers Tribunal (NTT) to look into grievances of teachers and students at private educational institutions, Outlook reports.

The ministry has set up a committee headed by higher education secretary R.P. Agrawal to finalise the blueprint for the project that officials admit is likely to meet opposition from private educational institutions, who could see it as government intervention in what they consider their internal affairs. According to sources, the tribunal is expected to adjudicate in cases involving employment and selection of teachers and admission malpractices and unfair labour practices.

This is a welcome move. But much depends, as Prashant Bhushan points out, on the quality of people appointed to it. Malpractices abound in private educational institutions and teachers and students alike are at the receiving end. For instance, teachers are forced to sign pay slips for amounts in excess of what they get; they are often not paid on time; and capitation fee is a thriving cottage industry. Part of the reason these issues have not been addressed is that many of the institutions, especially professional colleges, are run by politicians themselves, so there is no serious interest in reform.

I am not sure, though, that such an authority should be only for private institutions. Public institutions too could be covered by them- it is not as if all is hunky-dory there and there are appropriate grievance redressal mechanisms. For the central educational institutions, such as IITs and IIMs, it may be a good idea to mandate the setting up of CAT (central administrative tribunal)- like bodies with a defined composition and clearly specified powers.

However, such an authority cannot mix teacher and student issues- that would be too much to handle. Let us have the NTT for teachers and a regulator for education as the NKC has recommended, which can look into admissions, fees and other issues.


parent said...

This facility should also be extended to private educational schools outside India which come under CBSE and ICSE board. Otherwise no solution for parents example school covering up board exam results CBSE Std XII Results for 2007-2008 and other quality and fees issues parents have.

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