Lucknow: In a bid to crack down on corruption in transfers in Uttar Pradesh, the Yogi Adityanath government has developed an ‘online transfer policy’ for schoolteachers. A smartphone or computer, internet access and the teachers’ answers to around 10 queries will now decide the fate of their transfer requests.
The new system is also being introduced to address the chronic problem of teacher absenteeism and job dissatisfaction.
“This has been done to end the corruption racket which has engulfed teacher transfers for many years in UP. Around Rs 1-2 lakh is the standard bribe demanded by officials for a transfer,” UP Deputy CM and Education Minister Dinesh Sharma told ThePrint.
“Now, a teacher can just sit at home and get a transfer on their mobile phone. Haryana, Punjab, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu are using a similar model.”
How the new policy will work
Sharma explained that the composite score earned by teachers seeking transfers would determine the allotment of a new post.
“The computer will ask a set of questions, (starting with) are you a man or a woman. If you are a woman, you will get 10 points. Then, it will ask whether you are unmarried, married or widowed. If you are a widow, you get 10 points,” he said.
Similarly, a teacher’s spouse being a government employee will earn her/him additional points. If a teacher suffers from a chronic disease, more points will be added to her/his composite score.
Towards the end of the online questionnaire, the teacher will be asked to list four vacant posts where they prefer to be transferred.
“Depending on how many points you score, you will be given a new post. If there are three aspirants with the first preference of a Lucknow post, the person who scores the highest will get the transfer,” Sharma said.
A message announcing the transfer, the new post and joining date will be sent to the teacher’s phone via SMS. Teachers will also get their transfer letters with the UP Board Director’s digital signature, with the letters also being sent to their new principals with information about their date of joining.
While the government’s intentions behind the new policy have been appreciated by teachers, some representatives from the teachers’ associations have raised concerns over its feasibility.
“We personally don’t feel that such an ambitious plan can be executed properly. The government policy should be simple — post a teacher to her/his home district, or where the teacher’s family lives,” said Suresh Tripathi, MLC and member of the UP Madhyamik Shiksha Sangh.
“For online transfer, too, teachers would have to get no-objection certificates from various authorities.”
Teachers’ associations in the state are also concerned about the timing of the new policy, as they say the schedule for transfer applications for this year ended a month ago.
Education reforms in UP
The blueprint for education reforms in UP had taken shape two years ago when the state government had partnered with the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development. This reform blueprint also addressed the issue of teacher absenteeism and the need to increase job satisfaction among teachers.
One of the solutions mentioned in the blueprint was the designing of a transparent online teacher transfer policy.
In 2016, the BJP government in Haryana had rolled out a similar transfer policy, under which teachers were asked to apply for online transfer every year within a month-long period. The transfer orders were issued by the government online after around a month’s time.
In May 2017, the UP government had been in discussions with the Haryana government on this policy, after the Amarinder Singh-led Congress government in Punjab had adopted the Haryana policy on online teacher transfers.