Mumbai: No shutdown as teachers protest after school hours

Teachers’ groups across the state were to protest against govt apathy towards 45,000 teachers declared surplus by shutting down govt-aided schools on Friday, but decided not to do so and protested in the afternoon

The much hyped school shut down called by teachers’ groups across the state saw little response in the city on Friday, because teachers decided there was no need to shut down as they were to gather at the protest venue in the afternoon.

A member of Shikshak Bharati speaks to teachers at the protest at Kamgar Maidan at Parel
A member of Shikshak Bharati speaks to teachers at the protest at Kamgar Maidan at Parel

Teacher groups across the state had decided to stop work in all government-aided schools on Friday to protest against the government apathy towards 45,000 teachers in the state, who have suddenly been declared surplus.

Teachers at the protest at Kamgar Maidan
Teachers at the protest at Kamgar Maidan

Over 11,000 teachers gathered at Kamgar Maidan in Parel after 3 pm to protest. These include some from Thane and Raigad. “We had morning shift in school and all teachers gave lectures. Since the protest was to begin after 3:30 pm at Parel, all teachers decided not to shut down school for a day,” said Ramakant Pandey, principal of Bansidhar Agarwal School in Wadala.

He added that teachers from neighbouring schools and some principals also joined the protest. Most government aided-schools functioned properly on Friday. “All our teachers were present and lectures were conducted as per the schedule,” said Fr Paul, principal of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour School at Chembur.

Representatives of Shik-shak Bharati, a group supporting school and college teachers said the protest was successful. “Teachers are the first to be dragged to work whenever there’s any important work including census or elections, but when it comes to our demands there’s no action taken.

This clearly highlights government apathy towards our problems. Nobody cares if teachers lose their jobs or don’t get paid for their work for months together,” said Ashok Belsare, from Shikshak Bharati.

He added that the protest was successful as teachers from across the state joined it. While teachers said there was no shutdown, an official from the education department said 117 of the 1,500-odd schools in the city had shut down.

The fight
>> A new staffing-pattern, as prescribed by the Right to Education (RTE) Act, has been introduced by the state education department.
>> Following this, close to 45,000 teachers in schools across the state have been declared surplus. 
>> Scared of losing their only means of livelihood, 500-odd teaching and non-teaching staff members from Mumbai schools protested in front of the deputy director of (school) education’s office last month. 
>> A week later, a group of teachers protested at a Parel event where education minister Vinod Tawde was to be present.

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