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'Niyojit' teachers who fail to clear competency test will not lose jobs: Patna HC

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Patna, Apr 2 (PTI) The Patna High Court on Tuesday asserted that there was no provision in the latest service rules for Niyojit teachers (Panchayat teachers) that suggested those who failed to clear the competency tests would be removed from their services.

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The bench of Chief Justice K. Vinod Chandran and Justice Harish Kumar made this observation while disposing of a series of petitions.

"Those who qualify in the test (competency test) would have better service conditions, which is only in recognition of their competence and those who fail to qualify and even refuse to attempt the tests, would still be continued in their employment", observed the bench of the chief justice.

Approximately 3.5 lakh contractual teachers in Bihar, who have been serving in government schools for several years, will attain government employee status after passing the competency test.

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The Nitish Kumar-led Bihar government's recent decision, outlined in the Exclusive Teachers Rules-2023, mandates competency examinations for obtaining government employee status.

Each teacher is granted a total of five attempts (three online and two offline) to clear the tests.

The court's order highlighted that previous rules, such as the efficiency test prescribed in 2006, 2010, and 2012, mandated termination after two unsuccessful attempts.

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However, the Exclusive Teachers Rules-2023 do not impose termination for failing to qualify in the competency test.

"We have to specifically notice that earlier too after 2006; in 2010 and then in 2012, rules were brought out wherein, there was an efficiency test prescribed which entailed termination, when unable to qualify after two attempts. However, the Exclusive Teachers Rules-2023 do not impose such consequences," the bench observed.

The advocate general admitted that many Niyojit teachers who qualified as state school teachers under the new rules have refused to join due to their postings in other districts.

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The Niyojit teachers were appointed under the Bihar Panchayat Primary Teacher (Appointment and Service Conditions) Rules, 2006 (for short ‘Primary Teacher Rules 2006’) and later were regulated by the Bihar Panchayat Teachers Rules, 2012 (for brevity ‘Panchayat Teachers Rules-2012’)..

Some of them were Shiksha Mitras appointed prior to 2006 who were absorbed as Niyojit teachers under the Primary Teacher Rules-2006. When the Panchayat Teachers Rules-2012 came into force, all the teachers in place were required to sit for an examination to test their competence and only those who qualified in the test were given regular pay scale and increments.

Senior JD(U) leader and Bihar parliamentary affairs minister, Vijay Kumar Chaudhary, responded to the Patna HC order, asserting that the state government never intended to terminate Niyojit teachers who failed to clear competency tests or those who did not appear for the exams..

He emphasised that the High Court's order clarified this, countering misleading information spread by certain vested interests regarding Niyojit teachers and the Exclusive Teachers Rules-2023. PTI COR PKD MNB

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