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From this year onwards, teachers will be selected only through interviews for being eligible for national awards. The human resources development ministry has announced new guidelines in this regard.

Further, the number of national awards for some of the finest teachers given to those from Tamil Nadu has also been brought down from 22 to 6. 374 teachers have so far been getting this honour at all-India level, and this is now being reduced as 145.

School teachers and heads of government schools, schools run by local bodies, government aided schools, central government schools (Kendriya Vidhyalayas, Jawahar Navodhaya Vidhyalaya, Central schools for Tibetians, Sainik schools, schools run by Atomic Energy Educational Society), other CBSE schools, and also those from council for Indian schools certificate examination (CISCE schools) will be considered for these national awards.

As per the revised rules, matriculation and self-financing school teachers cannot apply for these awards. Teachers taking private tuitions for the students too will not be considered.

Head masters and teachers who want to apply for the awards can do so online. At the first stage, a district selection committee headed by the District Education Officer will scrutinise the applications and will forward the names of three teachers to the state selection committee, online. The state committee under the Education Secretary or Principal Secretary, will verify those applications once again, and recommend the eligible candidates to the National Selection Committee. The retired secretary of the School Education and Literacy department of the Human Resources Development Ministry will be the head of this committee.

There was political interference in the process of selection and recommendation, adopted by the State Governments, and this resulted in many under serving teachers getting these prestigious awards. One can expect and hope that deserving teachers will get these awards, thanks to this new process of selection.” – V.Annamalai

Starting from this year, the national level selection committee will evaluate afresh, the list of teachers recommended by the state, and then a maximum of 45 teachers recommended by the state will be called for a personal interview. Those eligible for the award will then be selected from them, says the HRD ministry. It should be noted that the national teachers’ awards were given based only on the state governments’ recommendations, till now.

“There was political interference in the process of selection and recommendation, adopted by the state governments, and this resulted in many under serving teachers getting these prestigious awards. One can expect and hope that deserving teachers will get these awards, thanks to this new process of selection. It is however not right that a state like Tamilnadu which has as many as 4 lakh school teachers, has been allotted only 6 awards. The number has definitely to be increased, as it remained earlier”, says V Annamalai, the national secretary of the All India Federation of Elementary Teachers Organisations(AIFETO)

In the meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu government too has framed new guidelines for the Dr Radhakrishnan awards given to teachers of excellence by the state government.                         

The education districts in Tamil Nadu have since been redesigned and their number increased from 67 to 120. If these awards were to be given such education district-wise, then their numbers will become quite high. Hence the TN government has decided to select teachers based on the number of schools and the teaching staff available in a district and also at the revenue district-level, instead of going on the basis of the education districts.

This means that 330 teachers from 32 districts will be selected for Dr Radhakrishnan awards. These apart, 32 awards will be given to the self-financing and matriculation school teachers, 2 each for Anglo Indian schools and schools run by social defence department, and 3 for physically challenged teachers. A new application format has also been introduced for this, from this year.

Also, the following have been announced as the eligibility criteria guidelines for the teachers to be considered for the Dr Radhakrishnan award – “It is essential that the teachers who are recommended for such a distinction – should be of impeccable character, free of allegations and not subjected to any disciplinary action; should have a clean public life and be interested in serving the society; should be those striving for reducing the student dropouts from schools, increasing the number of student-admissions, enhancing the pass percentages, and for improving the standards of students who are from educationally backward sections of the society. The names of those having political leanings and those who are connected to political parties, should definitely not be recommended at all. Teachers who treat education as a commercial venture and those who function in contravention of the conduct rules, should also be treated as ‘not-eligible’ for these awards”.

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