Delhi Education Minister Atishi on Thursday directed Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar to immediately withdraw the transfer order of around 5,000 government school teachers that was issued on Tuesday disregarding her order against the action.

Atishi also asked the chief secretary to initiate disciplinary proceedings against the errant officers “who willfully defied” her direction to the Education Department on July 1 to halt the transfers. She also asked Kumar to immediately put on hold any further compulsory transfer of teachers Merely because they have completed 10 years in a particular school.

Atishi termed the transfer order a mindless act and said that it was not only a blatant defiance of the direction of the education minister but also a complete disregard to the spirit and provision of National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.

The Education Department, in a midnight upheaval, issued transfer orders to around 5,000 teachers on its official website on Tuesday. The annual transfer policy mandates the transfer of teachers who have served in the same school for over 10 years.

The transfer order comes following a circular issued by the Directorate of Education last month regarding the online requests for transfer of its teaching staff.

Festive offer

“Under clause 16 of this circular, all those teachers who have served for more than 10 years in the same schools were directed to compulsorily apply for transfer, failing which, they will be transferred to any school by the DoE,” said Atishi, adding that nearly 5,000 teachers who did not apply for any transfer were transferred to other schools invoking this contentious clause.

She said that the provision of compulsory transfer in case a teacher has served in the same school is a new condition introduced by the Directorate of Education in the transfer policy of teachers this year. “Despite the fact that such a significant policy decision was taken by the DoE without my concurrence or consultation, even my subsequent direction to withdraw this clause was ignored and defied,” she said.

“With a mass transfer of such a magnitude, the entire school system is disrupted. The school from which a particular teacher has been transferred and the school to which she/he has been transferred both will be shaken… as the process of building bond with students, their parents and community will have to be reinitiated,” the minister said.

She said that transfers may be required in exceptional circumstances to improve the environment in a school, but this “mindless action” is purely a mechanical administrative device that will demotivate teachers, break down relationships between the teachers and the community and impact the academic performance of schools.

“This mass transfer will serve only one objective of damaging the academic achievement of schools. The children who study in government schools come from the poorest sections of society without any academic support in their homes. Any damage to the academic environment in schools can have a lifelong impact on their education and future,” she said.

She alleged that many teachers had reached out to her alleging “corruption” by some officers in this mass transfer as part of which they were offered postings in the schools of their choice against consideration.

“Such is the level of fear of retaliatory action that these teachers are unwilling to lodge a formal complaint or state their allegation on record. Now this is a very serious matter, a blot on the functioning of Directorate of Education and goes against the “transparency” principle underlined by NEP 2020 with regard to teachers transfer,” she said.

Directions have also been given to initiate Vigilance inquiry against the corruption and malpractice, if any, in the transfer of teachers.

On Wednesday, Atishi issued a show-cause notice to the Secretary of Education and the Directorate of Education for “disobeying” the minister’s order, citing Article 239 AA which “gives the Delhi government power to exercise over matters in the Concurrent List”.