NAGPUR: Maharashtra Rajya Shikshan Sanstha Mahamandal (MRSSM), the Pune-based powerful union representing school managements in state, has expressed unhappiness with state government over implementation of the Right To Education (RTE) Act.
RTE has a wide ambit, from admission to infrastructure, but MRSSM's biggest gripe is with the way the education pattern in state is being altered to realign with that of the Act. For decades, the state has followed the 4+3+3 (primary, middle and high school) pattern but now it has been changed to 5+3+2.
Baburao Zade, senior member of the MRSSM told TOI this realignment had rendered thousands of teachers in state excess. "In many rural areas, the private schools started from Std V because local bodies would provide education from Std I-IV. Now the government is taking away private school's Std V and attaching it to the local body school but they are not taking our teachers. As a result, two or three teachers for Std V are being rendered surplus. I am sure they will soon cancel our Std V permission soon," said Zade.
Once that happens, around 20,000 teachers in the state will be surplus. Though these teachers won't lose their job they would be transferred to other schools within the taluka. If no vacancy is available then to a school within the district, then division and if need be anywhere within the state. Vacancy is also dependent on the subject the teacher specializes in. Zade said, "As a result, the perfect vacancy is hardly found and teachers are getting paid without any work. Teachers in rural areas of Nagpur are left with hardly four or five students, which means a complete waste of their capabilities. Also, the government ends up paying hefty salaries for the teachers."
Zade added that similar situation existed in junior colleges and in Nagpur district itself there were many such cases. "I know that 58 lecturers in junior colleges have no work. They come, sit in college and go home by lunch hour and get paid sixth-pay commission level salary," he said.
MRSSM believes the state must negotiate terms with the central government within the ambit of RTE to regarding the education pattern. "We must talk to the Centre and put up a strong case of reverting to our old system of 4+3+3. If this is not done, we are headed for tough times as litigations will follow between schools and state which will ultimately affect the quality of education," said Zade.
MRSSM is in touch with the state government but feels a strong commitment is not forthcoming, most probably due to the assembly elections due in a few months. Zade said, "Last year the teacher-student ratio was revised, but since it was upsetting the teacher unions, the government stayed it. We demand that the entire thing be scrapped and teacher-student ratio be rationalized according to ground realities."