For teachers like Suhas Deshpande, the state’s latest ruling about prohibition on deploying schoolteachers to perform non-teaching duties, including census or election-related work, have brought in the much needed respite.
The latest order brought an end to Deshpande’s seven-month-long election duty that commenced last October, during which he worked he worked as a Booth Level Officer (BLO) and had to compromise on his attendance at the school.
The School Education department in its Government Resolution (GR) on May 3 cleared that no primary schoolteachers will be appointed for work other than academics from June 1. Also mentioned in the GR was that stringent action would be initiate against the school principal, Zilla Parishad education officer and administrative officer concerned if the GR was breached.
The GR states: “According to Right To Education (RTE) Act it is the responsibility of state government to provide free and quality education to all children between the age group of 6 and 14. For this, maintaining a ratio between student and teacher is utmost important. That’s why it is inappropriate to appoint teachers for non-academic work. The authorities concerned should ensure that teachers performing other than school-related work should immediately rejoin their schools and to ensure that from June 1, 2013, no teacher will be appointed on such duties.”
As per the GR, schoolteachers from now on would only perform election duties like pre-election training, during elections and vote counting. “Currently, thousands of teachers are forced by local or district administration to report for non-teaching duties like census or election-related work. We were pursuing this issue for the past two years, with a demand that teachers should be excluded from such duties because it eventually affects the academic environment in schools. I am happy that finally the government has come up with strict directives,” Member of Legislative Council (MLC) Ramnath Mote said.
Anil Bornare of the Maharashtra Rajya Shikshak Parishad said the state’s decision had finally put to rest the two-decade-long injustice towards teachers and the new directives would definitely bring respite to thousand of schoolteachers in the state.