Resource Teachers; Shafi O.P. Vs. State [Kerala High Court, 30-06-2016]

Teachers – Resource Teachers – Appointed in Government schools/aided schools – based on contract – regularisation of service – parity in pay scale – other service benefits along with regular teachers – held, that the teachers who are appointed as Resource Teachers in this State are also entitled to similar benefits, provided they possess all the prescribed qualifications. The Resource Teachers cannot be deprived of the legitimate benefit of regular pay and other monetary benefits including maternity leave and other leaves etc. as available to the ordinary teachers in the State.

Resource Teachers


IN THE HIGH COURT OF KERALA AT ERNAKULAM

A.MUHAMED MUSTAQUE, J.

W.P.(C).Nos.2470/2013, 25574/2013 & 1181/2014

Dated this the 30 th Day of June, 2016

PETITIONER(S)

SHAFI O.P. AND 433 ORS.

BY ADV. SRI.KALEESWARAM RAJ.

RESPONDENT(S):

1. STATE OF KERALA, REPRESENTED BY SECRETARY TO GOVERNMENT, DEPARTMENT OF GENERAL EDUCATION, SECRETARIAT, THIRUVANANTHAPURAM-695 001.

2. SECRETARY TO GOVERNMENT, DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WELFARE, SECRETARIAT, THIRUVANANTHAPURAM-695 001.

3. DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTIONS, THIRUVANANTHAPURAM-695 001.

4. UNION OF INDIA, REPRESENTED BY SECRETARY TO GOVERNMENT, MINISTRY OF HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT, NEW DELHI.

R1 TO R3 BY GOVT. PLEADER SRI.NOUSHAD THOTTATHIL. R4 BY ADV. SRI.N. NAGARESH, ASST. S.G. OF INDIA.

J U D G M E N T

These three writ petitions are filed by Resource Teachers appointed in Government schools/aided schools in the State based on contract for the reliefs related to regularisation of their service as well as for parity in pay scale and other service benefits along with regular teachers in the State.

2. W.P.(C).No.2470 of 2013 is filed by 433 teachers, W.P.(C).No.25574 of 2013 is filed by four teachers and W.P.(C).No.1181 of 2014 is filed by 11 teachers working in Government and aided schools. All these teachers have put at least 2 to 15 years of service in the respective schools.

3. Before proceeding to consider the crux of the issue, it is appropriate to refer the background of special education in the State. The Central Government formulated a scheme called Integrated Education for the Disabled Children (IEDC). This scheme was first introduced in the year 1974. The scheme intends to subserve teaching of the disabled students. The State of Kerala appears to be first among the States to implement the scheme with 100% financial support of Government of India in the year 1974. The teachers were appointed purely on contract basis for an academic year. During the year 2001 onwards, the Resource Teachers were appointed by the District Panchayat concerned. The Government of India revived the IEDC Scheme with a new scheme, namely, Inclusive Education for Disabled at Secondary Stage (IEDSS) with effect from 01/04/2009. Qualification of the Resource Teachers was also fixed by the Ministry of Human Resources Development. Taking note of the new qualification, the teachers who were not qualified as per the new scheme of IEDSS were terminated. These teachers were appointed by the District Panchayat. The qualified teachers are alone retained in the service.

4. The IEDSS Scheme implemented w.e.f 01/04/2009 is directly under the control of General Education Department. Therefore, the General Education Department through the Director of Public Instructions appointed Resource Teachers. However, nature of appointment continued to be contractual. They are terminated on 31st March of the academic year and are given reappointment after the summer vacation is over. This service break is actually taking note of closure of the schools for summer vacation.

5. As seen from the counter affidavit, there are around 500 teachers in the State engaged as Resource Teachers, and some of them are underqualified. The State Government has chosen to retain them on contract basis essentially, based on the fact that the State is relying upon Central sponsorship for the fund under the IEDSS Scheme.

6. As per the new IEDSS Scheme launched in 2009-10, the prescribed qualifications for Resource Teachers are as follows:

“i. Graduates with B.Ed (Special Education) or B.Ed.(General) with a 2-year Diploma in Special Education for classes IX and X

ii. Post Graduates in relevant subject with B.Ed.(Special Education) or B.Ed. (General) with 2-year Diploma in Special Education for classes XI and XII.”

7. It is seen from the counter affidavit that from the academic year 2012-13 onwards, the salary of Resource Teachers was revised and enhanced to Rs.14,620/- per month plus Rs.400/- as special allowance per month for the fully qualified Resource Teachers. The Resource Teachers are not given the scale of pay of ordinary teachers as they are appointed on contract basis. The State Government did not consider regularisation of the contract employees due to their engagement under the Centrally sponsored scheme. The scheme IEDSS is 100% centrally sponsored.

8. The two questions that arise for consideration in this writ petitions are,

(i) whether Resource Teachers are entitled to absorption on account of their continuous service for a longer period and

(ii) whether the Resource Teachers are entitled to a regular scale of pay.

9. The special education is a necessary component of education, and its emphasis is on inclusion. The disability of a child or that of a human being is an unavoidable option he had and not on account of any fault on his part. Those who had been endowed with all cognitive skills and ableness must commit to their fellow human beings in this universe, not by expressing sympathy but by taking steps for proper care and protection of those who are less fortunate. This process of special education to the disabled, to those who are afflicted with myriad forms of defects, is to address the educational needs based on the disability, he or she possesses. The special teachers serve a critical role in program planning and implementing such plans. The disability of a child may not remain in a uniform pattern. The teacher identifies the students’ problems and helps him or her to overcome it. The teacher designs lessons to plan to fit the need of the individual student. The mentoring is possible only through constant classroom observations. It is necessary for that process, to diagnose strength and weakness of the individual child. The rapport and link created between the teacher and individual student thus become inseparable for achieving the goal of inclusive education. The National Policy for Persons with Disabilities, 2006 formulated by Union Government envisions the empowerment of disabled through education. Some of the salient features are as follows:

“IV Education of Persons with Disabilities 48…

(i)Make schools (building, approaches, toilets, playgrounds, laboratories, libraries etc.) barrier free and accessible for all types of disability.

(ii) Medium and method of teaching will be suitably adapted to the requirements of most disability conditions.

(iv) Teaching/learning tools and aids such as educational toys, Braille/talking books, appropriate software etc. will be made available. Incentives will be given to expand facilities for setting up of general libraries, e-libraries, Braillelibraries and talking books libraries, resource rooms etc. …

(viii) Parent-Teacher counseling and grievance redressal system will be set up in the schools.

(xii) Course curriculum and evaluation system for children with various disabilities shall be developed keeping in view their capabilities. Examination system will be modified to make it disabled friendly by exemptions such as learning mathematics, learning only one language, etc. Further, facilities like extra time, use of calculators, use of Clarke’s tables, scribes etc would be provided based on the requirement.”

In National Policy on Education, 1986 as amended in the year 1992, the status of the Teacher is referred as follows:

“9.1 The status of the teacher reflects the socio-cultural ethos of a society; it is said that no people can rise above the level of its teachers. The Government and the community should endeavour to create conditions, which will help motivate and inspire teachers on constructive and creative lines. Teachers should have the freedom to innovate, to devise appropriate methods of communication and activities relevant to the needs and capabilities of and the concerns of the community.”

Thus, the teachers’ role cannot be ignored in the process of imparting education, and they remain so integral to the objectives intended to be secured through that process.

10. In