Government, zilla parishad and government-aided schools that have not filled up vacancies for teachers will face strict action from the state education department. Education officers of the respective districts may also face suspension if teachers complain that they have not been allowed to join work despite receiving appointment letters.
A state-wide inspection conducted in 2009 had found that there were around 17,000 "surplus" teachers, who were being paid even though they were not teaching in any school. In August this year, the education department allotted these teachers jobs in schools that had vacancies. However, the authorities at these schools have not allowed the teachers to start work.
Education commissioner S Chockalingam said, "We have set October 31 as the deadline for all district officers to allocate the teachers that have been issued notices to join schools. If they don't comply, then the district officers and school managements will face action."
As per the Right to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, schools must have two teachers for every 60 students, three for 61 to 90 students and four teachers for 91 to 120 students in each class between Std VI and VIII.
The annual survey conducted by the education department in 2013-14 reported 17,744 surplus undergraduate and graduate teachers in many upper primary schools in the state. An additional 17,000 to 18,000 teachers have been reported surplus in primary schools as per the RTE Act provisions.
More than 39,000 posts of graduate teachers remain vacant in state-run (zilla parishad and municipal) upper primary schools that teach standards VI to VIII. The vacancies have been created after the implementation of the RTE Act guidelines.
The state education department plans to fill 26,290 of these posts with the surplus teachers in several schools and with the teachers who have cleared the common entrance test in 2010 and are still awaiting recruitment.
Chockalingam said, "We are treating this issue as our top priority and trying to get teachers working. Yet, the education departments and school managements are lax in implementation. Hence, a strict directive has been issued and they have been asked to act upon it immediately."
The annual survey also reported 8,546 surplus headmasters in several schools. These headmasters will be appointed to the vacant posts of teachers in upper primary schools.