August 24, 2021 12:55:40 am
A group of government primary teachers in Gujarat has decided to boycott the “teacher readiness survey (Shikshak Sajjata Survekshan)” to be conducted across the state on Tuesday by sitting on a hunger strike, while others have offered full support through participation.
Despite assurances from Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama on Monday that it is only a survey that is voluntary and not an exam, which will not reflect in the service records of the teachers, the Rashtriya Shaikshik Mahasangh, Gujarat, announced to sit on a dharna Tuesday.
“We stand by our demand to cancel the survekshan. We have declared a boycott and a hunger strike with our family members after Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama declined our demand today . No other state has such an exam, then why should teachers in Gujarat undertake this,” said Bhikhabhai Patel, president of Rashtriya Shaikshik Mahasangh, Gujarat.
Bhikhabhai said that the instructions passed on to the teachers does not specify that it is voluntary and indicates it to be a mandatory exercise.
After announcing that the state government was going ahead with the survey, Chudasama told The Indian Express, “The survey is only to assess what kind of training is required to improve the quality of education. We have been clearly saying this and repeat that this is not an exam but survekshan (survey) so there is no question of marks or passing or failing the teachers… We have assured that in no way this will have any effect on their service books and records. We are firm on our stand.”
Expressing support to the survey, Digvijaysinh Jadeja, president of Gujarat State Primary Teachers Association, said, “More than one lakh teachers will participate in the survey and we support it. Already, 1.20 lakh hall tickets have been downloaded for the survey to be conducted from 2pm to 4 pm Tuesday.” The association claims more than one lakh members from among over two lakh government primary teachers.
Meanwhile, the Congress lashed out at the state government decision alleging that it was an attempt to create fear among teachers.
“The exercise is to create fear among teachers under the guise of a survey. What is the need to conduct such an exercise when teachers are already selected and recruited through a long drawn process,” said Manish Doshi, Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee spokesperson.
In March 2018, the state education department passed a Government Resolution (GR) on Shikshak Sajjata Survekshan, following a proposal by the Gujarat Council of Educational Research and Training (GCERT) to conduct a need-based training for government primary teachers. It was realised that a survey is required to assess the kind of training required.
However, there was no development till December 2020 when a meeting was conducted with head of departments and representatives of both these teachers unions who then gave their consent.
In July this year, a GR was passed with modalities on how to conduct the survey when several teachers questioned the need to conduct such an “exam”.
On July 29, 2021, a meeting of senior education officials with heads of both teachers union was conducted chaired by secretary education Vinod Rao in Gandhinagar.
Based on the feedback and recommendations received by the heads of teachers unions, it was decided to change the schedule of survey from August 11 to 24 and not to declare result of the survey that is voluntary and will not be reflected in their service records or salaries.
The two-hour survey is divided into two sections — descriptive and multiple choice questions. Teachers from Class 1 to 5 have to attempt 45 out of 80 multiple choice questions, while language and social science teachers from Class 6 to 8 should attempt 65 and maths and science teachers of Class 6 to 8 have to attempt around 80.
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