Mumbai: Teachers' jobs hinge on students' Aadhaar cards

Oct 05, 2017, 09:29 IST | Pallavi Smart

Furious schools, teachers write to state as new govt diktat says students without the card won't be counted in the student-teacher ratio

As per a new diktat by the Maharashtra government, schoolteachers' jobs now hinge on ensuring all of their students have Aadhaar cards. The new order says that the Sanch Manyata process for all schools - that calculates student-teacher ratio - will only include those students who have the card.

State issued stricter guidelines this year after realising many students don't have the card despite asking schools to help them get one. Pic for representationState issued stricter guidelines this year after realising many students don't have the card despite asking schools to help them get one. Pic for representation

If their number is lesser compared to the teachers, the latter would be termed as surplus, thus risking their job. (See box: How Aadhaar would decide ratio). There is growing anger amongst the community of teachers over this new regulation. The Principals Association has also written a letter to the state demanding a relaxation on this condition.

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With the Sanch Manyata process approaching, schools have to update their students' data on the government's SARAL portal, which includes their Aadhaar card. The government issued stricter guidelines this year after realising many students don't have the card despite asking schools to help them get one. "Student mentioned in SARAL without Aadhaar card details will not be counted for the Sanch Manyata process. From the academic year of 2017-18, Aadhaar card of students will be mandatory for Sanch-Manyata," states the order issued by the director of education.

Parents' responsibility
"How is this the school's responsibility? It is clearly something that needs to be done by the child's parents. We can understand if the government is asking us to create awareness, but they can't connect it to the final number of students in the school. Instead, the government should consider enrolment reports of schools," said Prashant Redij, secretary, Mumbai Association of Secondary Schools, which has also written a letter to the chief minister demanding relaxation of the order. Their letter also remarks that even when schools have submitted Aadhaar card data, technical issues with the SARAL portal make it difficult for them to upload the information.

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'Has to be mandatory'
Gangadhar Mamhane, director of education (secondary), told mid-day, "Schools were given enough time to ensure all their students have Aadhaar card, but it was not done. Now it has to be made mandatory."

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An official from the same department said, "In many cases, some schools are found giving wrong enrolment data with bogus students. This is done to maintain students teachers ratio and to continue the government grant and school. This move will help cap such malpractices."

How Aadhaar would decide ratio
Appointments of all teachers are done based on a student-teacher ratio. As per the Right To Education (RTE) Act, the ratio is one teacher for every 30 students. As per the new process, only those students with an Aadhaar card will be counted to determine the ratio for any school. If any school has a huge number of students without the card, their ratio will not be as per the regulations, thus causing discrepancy and declaring the teachers as surplus, risking their job.

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