November 29, 2021 12:58:05 am
Even months after the resumption of offline classes, a proposal to rope in pravaasi shikshak (visiting teachers) to overcome the shortage of nearly 4,000 secondary and higher secondary teachers in the wake of mass promotion of students is pending with the education ministry. Sources in the education department revealed the proposal has been pending since June this year.
Following an analysis of the shortage of resources and infrastructure resulting from mass promotion and a shift of students from private to government schools in the academic year 2021-22, the education department had mooted to rope in visiting teachers over fresh recruitment of regular faculty for secondary and higher secondary government and grant-in-aid schools.
Going by the class 10 results of the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board in the last two years, the additional number of students due to mass promotion is anywhere around 3-3.5 lakh students. Meanwhile, an estimated shortage of 3,950 secondary and higher secondary teachers —1,050 in government and 2,900 in grant-in-aid schools — is still waiting to be filled by visiting teachers.
Ruling out a ‘fund crunch’ issue behind the delay, Education Secretary Vinod Rao told The Indian Express: “It (the proposal) was again sent to the finance department for approval after some queries were raised.” He added the earlier queries raised by the department during former Chief Minister Vijay Rupani’s government were already replied to by the education department.
The issue remains pending even as schools have started their second semester this month. This year, Classes 10 and 12 were reopened for offline studies in January followed by Classes 9-11 in July. After being briefly closed, Classes 9-12 were resumed on September 26.
A meeting between teachers and the state government on this issue was also postponed last month, further delaying a decision. “We had submitted our demands to fill these vacant seats at the earliest and were given a meeting date before Diwali but the meeting was postponed. We are expecting to meet the Educ-ation Minister this week to discuss the same. We learnt that the state government wanted to fill these vacant seats through outsourcing (by) hiring an agency but we opposed this vehemently and have demanded to fill (the seats) only through visiting teachers. We will not allow exploitation of teachers through outsourcing,” said Bhikhabhai Patel, president of Rashtriya Shaikshik Mahasangh.
The state government’s scheme of visiting teachers in primary, secondary and higher secondary government and grant-in-aid schools was introduced through a Government Resolution in the academic session 2015-16 to prevent vacant seats and long leaves such as maternity from adversely affecting education in these schools.
The “honorarium scheme” inviting visiting faculties for schools was introduced in 2015 for two years but was extended every year. The honorarium announced by the state government for primary teachers is Rs 50 per period and a maximum of six periods in a day, while it has been fixed as Rs 75 and Rs 90 for secondary and higher secondary schools respectively. The limit on the number of periods per day is similar across primary, secondary and higher secondary schools.
As per the 2015 Government Resolution, a primary, secondary and higher secondary government and grant-in-aid school can take services of a visiting teacher against the vacant seats till the time regular appointments are done or if the regular teacher avails leave of more than a month. This implies that services of an eligible person from the local community or even retired teachers can be availed to compensate for vacant seats.Indian Express, India news, current affairs, Indian Express News Service, Express News Service, Express News, Indian Express India News
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