Principals of schools with less than 135 students to be considered surplus

A seven-page Government Resolution was issued on August 28; principals accuse state of saving money rather than improving quality of education

At a time when countless teachers are still struggling to find jobs after they were tagged as ‘surplus’, the state recently issued another Government Resolution (GR) stating that principals of aided schools with less than 135 students will be considered surplus.

Principals claim there are schools in rural areas with 100 or even less students, and shutting down such schools will be denying the children their fundamental right of receiving education. File pic for representation
Principals claim there are schools in rural areas with 100 or even less students, and shutting down such schools will be denying the children their fundamental right of receiving education. File pic for representation

The state education department said the GR was an addition to a provision in the Right to Education (RTE) Act which states that only schools with more than 150 students should have a principal’s post. The seven-page GR, dated August 28, highlights the need for dissemination of quality education for children, starting with shutting schools that don’t comply with the RTE norms.

The provision states the need to ‘weed out non-performing or under-performing schools… and upon closure of such schools, the students and teaching staff to be transferred to neighbouring schools’. “Though the rule has always been in place, there was a doubt on whether the school loses the principal if they have 149 students.

Through this GR, we are making it clear that principals of schools with less than 135 students will be considered surplus,” said Nand Kumar, principal secretary, School Education. He added that schools in which the principal’s post is considered surplus, all the administrational duties would be handed over to the senior-most staffer.

Speaking to mid-day, Kumar said, “The surplus principals will either be shifted to other schools where posts are still vacant or have to take teaching responsibilities.”

Counter view
While the state claims the step is being taken to prevent wastage of human resources, principals say they find the rule unrealistic. “On one hand the government wants a school within one kilometre radius of every child, on the other they are talking about shutting them.

There are schools in rural areas with 100 or even less students. By shutting down such schools, we are denying these children their fundamental right of receiving education,” said one of the principals. Others claimed the fate of surplus principals would be similar to that of the teachers who were declared surplus and are still struggling to secure permanent jobs.

“Here, the education department is focusing on making principals surplus instead of ensuring quality education in schools. The government is simply looking for ways to save money. It seems to be least bothered about the students,” said Ramakant Pandey, principal of Bansidhar Agarwal School, Wadala.

45,000
No of teachers declared surplus following a GR issued last November

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