Annual Transfer Drive (ATD)-2021 and its implementation

The annual transfer drive, as the name suggests is a yearly exercise supposed to be carried out by the school education department to reshuffle the teaching staff in the schools.

The reshuffle is done to streamline the Pupil Teacher Ratio (PTR) and ensure the adequate teaching staff is made available in schools in order to provide quality education to the students in the government schools.

However, the successive regimes have miserably failed to streamline the transfer system. The authorities have failed to execute the process on time and streamline the posting of the teaching staff including teachers, masters and lecturers in the school as per the requirement.

The department imposes blanket ban on the mid-session transfers citing that shifting of teachers in mid-session disturbs the academics in schools. Recently, the administration kept in abeyance all the transfers and deputations ordered by the Chief Education Officers (CEOs). The government barred the CEOs from issuing any transfer order at district level till the ATD-2021 gets completed at administrative level.

But the so called annual reshuffle supposed to be ordered before resuming class work in school post winter vacations always gets delayed due to internal pulls and pressures.

Like previous years, the school education department this year initiated the process of annual transfers in December during the winter vacations. The teachers, masters and lecturers were asked to submit online applications for their transfers which would be considered on merit.

As per the guidelines issued by the school education department, the process was supposed to be completed in last week of February so that teaching staff would join their new places of posting after the reopening of schools post over two month long winter vacations.

The schools resumed the in-person classes for students from kindergarten to higher secondary level from March 01 in a phased manner but the department is yet to complete the process of Annual Transfer Drive (ATD)-2021.

The teachers posted in hard zones from past years have been left to fend for themselves as the government has failed to relieve them to normal zones and depute another batch of teachers to the hard zones for a period of one or two years.

Amid the delay in finalizing the ATD-2021, the schools in rural areas continue to remain deprived of adequate teaching staff while the influential teachers enjoy their prolonged stint in schools located in city and towns besides the easily accessible places.

As observed from past many years, there are different categories of teachers, masters and lecturers in the school education department. Some rue their prolonged tenure in hard zones while some use their influence to continue their stint in the schools of their choice.

Another category includes those who continue to remain posted in different offices or District Institute of Education and Trainings (DIET) to escape from teaching in schools.

The school education department in January second week issued instructions for transfers of the employees of the school education department to streamline the availability of the subject specific teaching faculty in the government schools from primary to higher secondary level.

This year the department claimed to prepare the list of transfers subject wise, cadre wise so that no school should have surplus teachers in the same subject and some schools have none. Contrary to the claims of the department, schools continue to suffer in rural areas.

Pertinently, the guidelines issued to implement the transfer policy states that the teachers with 40 percent disability will be considered on priority to be transferred against the available vacancy. Transfer of teachers on health, security and other genuine grounds were also to be considered by the department.

In view of the commencement of the physical classes in all the schools, it will be a hard decision for the department to issue mass transfer list of the teaching staff.

Once, the mass transfer list is issued, the department will not be able to convince the whole teaching staff reshuffled from the schools. As experienced during past years, the teachers who are not satisfied with the transfers remain dotted at the directorate which mars the already affected academics in the schools.

Preparing a mass transfer list of teaching staff is not as easy as it seems to be, it is such an exhaustive exercise that it can consume a complete academic year to prepare the list.

Now that the department has not been able to issue the transfer list before the commencement of class work in schools, it should consider all the factors before putting the transfer list in public domain as it will definitely affect the ongoing class work in schools.

While the ATD-2021 is still under process, the department should make a separate list of teaching staff posted in DIETs and SCERT on basis of their tenure in these two offices. Over the years, the department has posted influential teachers, masters and lecturers in DIETS and SCERT (erstwhile SIE) who avoid being posted in schools.

These institutes are meant for research and workshops but the government has reduced these institutes to dumping sites and adjust influential teachers in these institutes for a prolonged period of time.

Now coming to the point, the government should prepare the transfer list as per ATD-2021 in such a manner that it should fulfil the sole purpose of streamlining the availability of teachers in schools rather than creating chaos in the schools.