With the state education department struggling to handle the problem of surplus teachers, the newly introduced online staffing pattern under the Right to Education (RTE) Act could spiral the situation out of control. The new staffing pattern is set to go online by the start of the upcoming academic year.
Teachers protesting over unpaid salaries. File pic
During a state-wide meeting held last week, comprising primary and secondary education inspectors, education officials spent their time trying to understand the problems at hand and find possible solutions for smooth implement of the new staffing pattern.
“The burning issue right now is the teacher staffing pattern, which is set to go online soon. There have been several reports that over 45,000 teachers in the state have been declared surplus. We are working towards ensuring that teachers don’t suffer because of the state’s decisions,” said B B Chavan, education inspector, south zone.
Chavan added that implementation of the RTE Act has been the highlight of the past few meetings. A similar meeting of all primary education inspectors took place on Friday and Saturday in Pune last week.
After more than 45,000 teachers were declared surplus mostly those on probation a group of 500-odd teaching and non-teaching staff members from the city’s schools protested outside the deputy director of school education’s office in November 2014.
A week later, a group of teachers protested at an event where education minister Vinod Tawde was supposed to be present. The Bhoiwada police ended up arresting 10 teachers for disrupting a government function. Shikshak Bharati, an NGO formed by teachers, has been fighting for the rights of these teachers for the past few months.
Apart from organising a series of protests, a state-wide school bandh was also called for last month, during which teachers from most government-aided schools refused to teach. In several schools, the agitation was supported by the principals.
“Teachers are the first to be allotted duties, be it Census or elections. However, when it comes to meeting our demands, there is zero action. This clearly highlights government apathy towards our problems. Nobody cares if teachers lose their jobs or don’t get paid for months,” said Ashok Belsare, a teacher and a part of Shikshak Bharati.
>> As per norms, every state-aided school is required to submit the number of children studying in primary and secondary sections
>> Secondly, the teacher-student ratio must be implemented as per the RTE Act. For the primary section, the ratio has to be 1:30, and for the secondary section it needs to be 1:35
>> Once the ratio is achieved, all the remaining teachers are termed ‘surplus’