High number of women teachers and subsequent maternity leaves were listed among the 70-odd factors affecting elementary education in the draft report of the National Education Policy (NEP)prepared by Gujarat government.
The draft report, prepared by state education department after a district-level consultation on school education, also suggested creating a reserve of teachers to combat the problem of frequent maternity leaves. It will be submitted to the Ministry of Human Resource Development soon.
There are 34,000 government primary schools in Gujarat, and 2.04 lakh vidyasahayakas (temporary teachers) and regular teachers. More than 96,000 teachers are women, according to government records. As per government rules, a woman teacher gets 180 days of maternity leave, while a man gets only 15 days of paternity leave.
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It also cited “illiterate parents”, “lack of motivation among students” among the reasons for poor results. These were in response to a question — “What are the likely reasons that hinder our elementary school children in acquiring age appropriate skills in reading, writing and numeracy?” — which was part of the survey by the department.
The department stated that “poor quality of faculty” is affecting higher education, and “regular teachers in higher education should be appointed” instead of contractual teachers .
Besides suggesting penal action on parents whose children are irregular in school, the education department proposed implementation of “equal work, equal pay” rule as a measure against underperforming teachers.
The draft report, a copy of which is with The Indian Express, proposed “stopping increments, promotions and initiating enquiry against the said faculty, transfer and suspension” as penalties on underperforming teachers, if students’ performance is not up to the mark in a stipulated time period.
Strongly objecting to “no detention policy” in the Right to Education Act, the report recommended “to retain students in the same class till they identify basic numbers and alphabets.”
“These are the suggestions received from various stakeholders. The report tried to involve everyone associated with education, even from villages.
We have sought suggestions on improving quality of education from various stakeholders, including media houses,” said state Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama.