It looks like this Teachers’ Day has nothing happy in store for teachers employed at state-run schools across Maharashtra. Just days after the state issued a Government Resolution (GR) to derecognise principals of schools with less than 135 students and term them as ‘surplus’, more bad news is in the offing for the state-run schools and their teachers.
In a recent decision by the central government, calling for changes in the funding pattern for the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan (SSA) has jeopardised various educational schemes operated by the education department. Until recently, the centre would chip in 65 per cent of the total budget set aside by the state to run schemes under SSA, while the remaining 35 per cent came from the state government.
It has now been learnt that henceforth, the centre will be providing 50 per cent, while the state will have to add the remaining 50 per cent. Expressing concerns over the new funding pattern, education department officials said besides calling off various schemes that provide free education, books and uniforms, giving out salaries to over 15,000 teachers seems like a daunting task.
Moreover, with budget constraints, no new plans will be chalked out for this academic year. “Last year, our budget was about Rs 1,400 crore of which over Rs 1,100 crore came from the central government. Our this year’s budget is Rs 1,574 crore and we have been told that the state government can only spare Rs 390 crore.
We don’t know if we can afford to run all the schemes henceforth,” said a senior SSA official from Mumbai. “We have about 43 Kasturbha Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas, residential schools for young orphaned girls, across the state and we pump in almost Rs 25 crore every year. This project might also get affected due to lack of funds.”
‘We’re easy targets’
“About 15,300 teachers work in state-run schools, and we become easy targets for everybody. If we find out any discrepancies in our salary disbursement, then there will be a huge outcry.
The government, in its attempt to save money, will have to compromise on quality of education,” said Rachita Waghle, a teacher from a state board school. As of now no decision has been taken on allocation of budget but meetings will be held soon to come up with best possible solutions, said an education department official.