B.H. Marlapalle, J.
1. Both these petitions have challenged the circular dated 5th of February, 1998 issued by the Director of Education, Maharashtra State at Pune, directing all the Education Officers (Secondary) of Zilla Parishads in the State not to grant approval to the appointments of Assistant Teachers who possess the B.Com. B.Ed. degree unless there is availability of work load in the respective subjects which they have studied up to the graduation level or in economics.
2. It has been submitted before us that under section 16 of the Maharashtra Employee of Private Schools (Conditions of Service) Regulation Act, 1977 (MEPS Act, for short), the State Government has framed the Maharashtra Employees of Private Schools (Conditions of Service) Rules, 1981 (for short, MEPS Rules) and Rule 6 thereunder prescribes the minimum qualifications for the post of Assistant Teachers in primary schools, secondary schools, junior colleges and junior college of education. In these petitions, we are concerned with the appointments of Assistant Teachers in secondary schools. In Schedule B read with Rule 6 of the MEPS Rules, Part-II deals with qualifications for trained teachers in secondary schools and junior colleges of education and Part-III deals with qualifications for teachers in junior colleges. Under Clause (1) of Part-II under Schedule-B it is stipulated that for graduate teachers the following qualifications are prescribed as minimum qualifications :
(i) A Bachelor’s Degree in Teaching or Education of any statutory university or a qualification recognised by Government as equivalent thereto ;
(ii) A Teaching Diploma of any statutory University, if a person holding it is appointed for the first time before the 1st October, 1970 and continues to serve as a teacher with or without break after that date ;
(iii) A Secondary Teacher’s Certificate of the Education Department of Maharashtra State, if a person holding it is appointed for the first time before the 1st October, 1970 and continues to serve as a teacher with or without break after that date ;
(iv) A Diploma in Education of the Graduates Basic Training Centres;
(v) A Diploma in Physical Education or a qualification recognised by Government as equivalent thereto; or Biforcal Higher Diploma in Physical Education of the Government of Maharashtra (as Physical Education with one of the method subjects) or B.P.Ed. (Marathwada University) or B.P.Ed (Shiwaji University) or B.Ed. (Physical Education) (Poona University) or B.Ed. (Physical Education) (Bombay University) or B.P.Ed. (Nagpur University) or Diploma in Physical Education, Culture and Recreation awarded by Hanuman Vyayam Prasarak Mandal, Amravati;
(vi) Any other degree, diploma or certificate which Government or the Inter-University Board may sanction as equivalent to any of the above qualifications.
3. In Writ Petition No. 3021 of 1998 the teacher himself is the petitioner and he possesses B.Com. B.Ed. qualifications and came to be appointed as an Assistant Teacher in the Girls High Schools at Adul, Taluka Paithan, District Aurangabad with effect from 13th June, 1993 whereas the Writ Petition No. 3000 of 2000 has been filed by the institution running a secondary school as well as the Assistant Teacher who came to be appointed in the said school with effect from 2nd March, 1988 and he also possesses the qualifications of B.Com.B.Ed. In this petition, it has been contended by petitioner No. 1 that it had submitted proposal to the Education Officer (Secondary), Zilla Parishad, Aurangabad for the approval of the appointment of petitioner No. 2 along with other teachers. However, by relying upon the circular dated 5th February, 1998 the Education Officer (Secondary) vide his communication dated 18th December, 1999 declined to grant approval to the appointment of petitioner No. 2 as his basic degree was in commerce. In both the petitions the teachers concerned have been appointed after 1st October, 1970 and, therefore, the qualifications of a graduate degree plus a degree in education or a diploma in education is a necessary qualification for appointment as Assistant Teacher in the secondary schools. So far as the qualifications as listed in Clause (v) of Part-II (1) of Schedule B are concerned, they pertain to the post of Assistant Teacher in Physical Education.
4. In Schedule F, framed under Rule 12 of the MEPS Rules, guidelines, for fixation of seniority of teachers in the secondary schools, junior college of education and junior college classes attached to secondary schools are prescribed and it is stated that for the purpose of fixation of seniority of teachers in the secondary schools, junior colleges of education and junior college classes attached to secondary schools, the teachers should be categorised as follows:
Category A : ... ... Category B : ... ... Category C : Holders of -- M.A./ M.Sc./M.Com., B.T./B.Ed., or its equivalent; or B.A./B.Sc./B.Com., B.T./B.Ed., or its equivalent; or B.A./B.Sc./B.Com.Dip.T. (old two years course); or B.A./B.Sc./B.Com., S.T.C./Dip.Ed/Dip.T. (one year course) with 10 years post-S.T.C. etc. service. Category D: Holders of-- B.A./B.Sc./B.Com./S.T.C./Dip.Ed. (one year course).
Relying upon these qualifications prescribed for the Category C and D Assistant Teachers in the secondary schools, the learned Counsel for the petitioners have contended that B.Com.B.Ed. is one of the qualifications prescribed for the post of Assistant Teacher in secondary schools and when the rules framed by the legislature under the provisions of section 16 of the MEPS Act have recognised such qualifications, the Director of Education has no authority in law to say that B.Com.B.Ed. is not a requisite qualification for appointment of an Assistant Teacher in a secondary school.
5. It is well recognised in law that an administrative circular cannot amend the statutory provisions or the Rules framed by the legislature under such statute and in the instant case the Director of Education, by the impugned circular dated 5th February, 1998 has not sought to change the provisions of the MEPS Rules, 1981. All that he has stated and directed the Education Officers to follow is that the appointments of teachers possessing the B.Com.B.Ed. qualifications should not be approved unless there is sufficient work load in the subjects which they have studied at the graduation level i.e. B.Com. degree examination or economics and if sufficient work load is not available in these subjects the appointment should not be approved. The submissions that the Director of Education has sought to amend the MEPS Rules by the impugned administrative circular do not hold good and the said submissions are hereby over ruled.
6. There is no dispute that the teachers concerned in these petitions have, in their B.Com. degree course, studied subjects like Advance Accountancy, Book Keeping, Auditing, Business Organisation, Statistics, Mercantile law and economics etc. However, when they joined the Bachelor of Education course they had subjects like Education and Teacher in Indian Society, Educational Psychology, School Organisation-Educational Structure and Problems, Education Evaluation and Statistics, Modern Trends in Education and Methodology of 2 School Subjects (Marathi and History). On the basis of the last paper i.e. paper No. 5 in Methodology of two school subjects viz. Marathi and History as opted by the petitioners at the B.Ed. level, it has been urged before us that the petitioners ought to be holding the qualifications to teach Marathi and History subjects at the secondary school level. So long as they have studied the Methodology papers in Marathi and History subjects at the B.Ed. level, they ought to be treated as Assistant Teachers qualified to teach these subjects even though they did not study such subjects at the B.Com. level. The petitions are entirely based on this argument itself and it is stated that the subjects at the B.Com. level do not matter for approval of their services as trained Assistant Teachers so long as they have studied two papers in Methodology in subjects which are otherwise taught at the secondary school level, while studying the B.Ed. degree course.
7. We must note that the qualifications prescribed for the post of Assistant Teacher are in keeping with the subjects taught in the secondary schools and while approving the appointment of Assistant Teachers in such secondary schools the scheme of the MEPS Act as well as the Rules thereunder postulates the Education Officer and his superiors to consider primarily the interests of the students studying in such schools. The teachers who have done their basic graduation degree and subsequently obtained a degree or diploma in education to meet the qualifications as trained teachers in secondary schools must have fluency in the subjects being taught at the secondary school level. The contents of the course for the B.Ed. degree examination clearly indicate that the whole emphasis is to equip the graduate teachers with educational psychology, school organisation and structure, educational evaluation and statistics as well as methodology in education. To achieve the fluency in the subjects which are taught at the secondary school levels, it is necessary to examine the concerned teachers’ qualifications at the basic degree level irrespective of the subjects he/she has studied in the B.Ed. degree course. As per Rule 17.1 and Annexure 63 in the Secondary School Code it is stipulated that while appointing Assistant Teachers from amongst the trained graduates it is necessary to ensure that the subjects they had taken for their basic degree course are in keeping with the subjects taught in such classes.
8. Tought the MEPS Act was enacted by the State Legislature to regulate the conditions of service of the employees in private schools in the State of Maharashtra and with a view to provide such employees security and stability of service to enable them to discharge their duties towards the pupils and their guardian in particular, as well as the institution or society in general and further to lay down the duties and functions of such employees with a view to ensure that they become accountable to the management and contribute their might for improving the standard of education, the emphasis must always be on the welfare of the students so as to orient them to meet the educational standards as are prescribed at the secondary school levels and the teachers must be qualified to meet these challenges. The term “trained teacher” and “trained graduate” have been separately defined under the MEPS Rules. Trained Graduate means a person possessing the qualifications mentioned in sub-clause (i) to (v) of Clause 1 of Item II in Schedule B, whereas Trained Teacher means a teacher who has secured a professional certificate, a diploma or a degree recognised by the department which qualifies him for a teaching post in a school. We are concerned with “Trained Graduate Teacher” possessing the qualifications mentioned in Item II Clause 1(i) to (v) of Schedule B. The thrust in the scheme of the Rules while prescribing the educational qualifications is on the qualifications to be achieved by the teachers at the graduation levels and thus graduates become trained graduates by obtaining a degree or diploma in education. The B.Ed. course includes knowledge of the subjects of teaching methods in connection with only two subjects relating to graduation subjects and that too limited to methodology of teaching and not equipping such teacher with the fluency in these two subjects. A Full Bench of this Court in the case of Jayashree Sunil Chavan v. State of Maharashtra and others, while dealing with the issue of the trained teachers qualifications in primary as well as secondary schools observed, thus:
“26. The position has to be accepted as well settled that imparting primary and secondary education to students is the bounden duty of the State Administration. It is a constitutional mandate that the State shall ensure proper education to the students on whom the future of the society depends. In line with this principle, the State has enacted statutes and framed Rules and Regulations to control and regulate establishments running private schools at different levels. The State Government provides grants recognition and/or permission to run private schools with a view to exercise control over the institutions and to ensure that the standard of teaching does not suffer for want of academic control. It needs no emphasis that appointment of qualified and efficient teacher is a sine qua non for maintaining high standard of teaching in educational institutions.”
9. It is nobody’s case that the course contents of B.Ed. courses in methodology paper consisting of two subjects can be a substitute for the course contents of such subjects at the basic degree level. For example, if the methodology paper in two subjects like Marathi and History, has prescribed certain course contents at the B.Ed. level, they cannot be similar to the course contents in these subjects at the basic degree level if one has to examine the fluency that is required to be attained by a trained graduate teacher to teach these subjects with the standards as are prescribed for the secondary school teachers. Being aware in the methodology does not by itself enrich the graduate teacher in such subjects which he studied only as part of the methodology paper at the B.Ed. level and particular standard of in depth knowledge of the subject which one is required to teach at Higher Secondary/Junior College level. The B.Ed. degree level course content may enrich the graduate teacher with additional skills in teaching or psychology in teaching or methodology in teaching but the basic subject enrichment can be achieved at the graduation or post graduation level in these subjects.
10. Though the scheme of the MEPS Rules postulates and recognises B.Com., B.Ed. as one of the qualifications for appointment to the post of Assistant Teacher in secondary schools the Education Officer or the Deputy Director of Education has a statutory duty while granting approval to such appointments, to examine the qualifications at the basic degree level as well as post graduation level and not at the B.Ed. level so as to grant approval to these appointments. If the work load available in a particular school in the subjects which the concerned teacher has studied at the graduation level does not warrant his full term appointment or if there is no workload at all in such subjects, the Education Officer would not be at fault while declining approval to such teachers irrespective of their post degree level qualifications like B.Ed. or B.P.Ed. or even M.Ed. for that matter. Unless there is sufficient work load available in the respective subjects which the teacher has studied up to the graduation level, the authorities concerned would be justified in declining approval for his appointment and such an action, in no way, amounts to changing the provisions of the MEPS Rules or the Schedules thereunder.
11. Education is the foundation for the prosperity of any country and it shapes its future by inculcating discipline, culture and spirit into the youth. Every contribution by every person entrusted with such noble services, including the teacher, has to render service with dedication and this cannot be achieved unless the teacher has equipped himself with adequate knowledge in the subjects he is expected to teach. Whether the schools are aided or unaided makes no difference when the teacher’s qualifications are required to be examined by the Education Officer or by the Deputy Director of Education while granting approval. These are the authorities who have been empowered to supervise and control the educational institutions be they private or under the local self government. Unless the teachers appointed meet the qualificational requirements in respect of the subjects they have the adequate knowledge to teach at the secondary school, the Education Officer or the Deputy Director of Education will be justified in declining approval notwithstanding the long list of degrees the teacher concerned may be in possession.
12. There is one more aspect which also requires to be taken into consideration. Item III of Schedule B prescribes qualifications for teachers in junior colleges and it states that for the post of full time teachers in such colleges Masters degree of a statutory university in second class in the respective subjects plus B.Ed. or a Diploma or Certificate of Teaching approved by the Department is the minimum qualification prescribed. If the petitioners’ contentions are accepted, on completion of their M.Com degree they ought to be appointed as teachers in junior colleges to teach Marathi or History which would be contrary to the qualifications prescribed for such posts inasmuch as teachers must possess a Masters degree of a statutory university in second class in the respective subjects. The whole logic behind the arguments of the petitioners goes against the scheme of the Rules and the welfare of the students.
13. While deciding these petitions we sought clarification from the State authorities regarding the B.Com., B.Ed./ B.P.Ed. teachers who have already been confirmed or are in permanent service as Assistant Teachers. We had an apprehension that such teachers may be declared as surplus on the ground that they do not have workload to teach the subjects in the secondary schools in view of the fact that such subjects they did not study at the B.Com. level. This doubt is applicable to other graduates as well and, therefore, we had called upon the State Authorities to place on record the Government’s policy in this regard. The Deputy Secretary, in the Department of School Education, has vide his letter dated 16th December, 2000, addressed to the Deputy Director of Education at Aurangabad, clarified that such permanent teachers shall not be declared as surplus and retrenched. Instead, they shall be retrained in the subject of their liking and would be retained in service, thereby avoiding the loss of permanent employment. This clarification sufficiently protects the interests of the permanent teachers in any faculty i.e. Arts, Science and Commerce.
14. In the result, we hold that though the B.Com., B.Ed. is one of the qualifications prescribed for appointment of Assistant Teachers in secondary schools, the Education Officer or the Deputy Director of Education, as the case may be, has the powers to deny approval for the appointment of said teachers if there is no work load or inadequate work load in the subjects which they have studied at B.Com. level and the course contents at B.Ed. level are irrelevant to decide their eligibility for approval to teach subjects which they have not studied at the B.Com. degree level. The challenge to the impugned circular is, therefore, devoid of merits and the petitions are hereby dismissed. Rule discharged with no order as to costs.