Four years after the Right To Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE) 2009, came into effect, the state government has finally decided to implement the one teacher for every 30 students rule in primary schools.
In a government resolution (GR) dated December 13 (MiD DAY has copy of the same), which is yet to appear on government’s website, it has been stated that in the ongoing academic year, the state will adopt the new pupil teacher ratio (PTR) according to section 25 of RTE Act.
One teacher for every 35 students studying in Std VI to VIII will also come into force. Till now the strength of teachers in any government or aided school have been decided according to number of divisions and classes the school has, and not on the number of students studying in each class.
The GR states – “Henceforth, the strength of teachers will be sanctioned on number of students, which is mentioned in RTE as one teacher for 30 students in junior primary schools and one teacher behind 35 students in senior primary schools. All other earlier norms and directives regarding fixing strength of teachers are no longer applicable.”
Ramnath Mote, Member of Legislative Council (MLC) from Konkan teachers’ constituency, who is following the issue since the last four years, said, “Even after receiving clear directions through RTE about PTR, the state government has not implemented it in the state till date. Finally, it has come up with a new policy, which will ultimately improve the quality of education.”
Interestingly, in a similar GR issued earlier, the state had claimed that there has been a good PTR. As per the statistics, currently, municipal corporation schools across the state have a pupil teacher ratio of 1:24, when the expected PTR according to RTE is 1:30. In government-aided schools it is 1:35, while it should be between 1:30 and 1:40.
However, PMC education board head Shivaji Daundkar said that currently in all 310 civic schools in the city, the pupil teacher ratio is 1:49 and not 1:30, which is ideally expected according to RTE.
“At the beginning of the current academic year, we had requested state government to recruit teachers according to RTE Act. But at that time government denied it and asked to stick to earlier norms. However now it has changed the policy,” said Daundkar.
Ten days ago, the PMC education board has received directions from the Zilla Parishad to implement PTR according to RTE. “We need at least 175 additional teachers if we have to implement,” Daundkar added.
Presently, there are total 2,161 teachers in all 310 PMC-run schools, including Marathi, Hindi and Urdu mediums.
Commenting on the development, education expert Vijaya Chauhan said, “Yes it will definitely see the positive change as teachers will able to provide personal attention to students. But at the same time allegations are still there that teachers are still overburdened with many non-teaching work.”
Even though the state wants to implement the decision with immediate effect, teacher recruitment is not possible at this moment, as the state has imposed the new criteria of Teachers’ Eligibility Test (TET) for prospective schoolteachers. Coincidentally, yesterday was the first ever TET held in the state and it will take at least two months for the results.
Henceforth TET is mandatory requirement, without which D Ed or B Ed holder will become a teacher. The results will take at least two months and only then would new recruitments be possible,” said an official of Maharashtra State Examination Council, the organiser of TET. A total 3,66,378 D Ed candidates appeared for the TET yesterday. There was a separate paper for B Ed holders and a total of 2,19,000 candidates appeared for this.