Teachers’ groups in Maharashtra oppose 50% attendance mandate – education

A day after the Maharashtra education department released Standard Operating Procedures for teachers and mandated 50% attendance for them, several teachers’ groups have opposed the decision.

On Friday, several teachers’ groups wrote to the education department urging officials to withdraw the attendance rule. “Schools are shut, and teachers are imparting online education to students on a daily basis. The department has also planned to gradually reopen schools for students. So, what is the need to call teachers to school at this point,” asked Anil Bornare from BJP teachers’ cell.

Several principals from BMC schools said civic body officials had asked them to click photographs of attendance on a daily basis as proof of teachers’ attendance. Similarly, teachers have been asked to go in various localities and teach students as per their needs.

“Teachers travel from all parts of the city and come to school and now with restrictions on travel they will have to shell out huge sums from their pockets to come thrice a week. Besides that, schools do not have the necessary infrastructure for online learning. Conducting online classes with so many issues is a big hurdle,” said a principal requesting anonymity.

Rajesh Pandya of the Teachers Democratic Front said, “Teachers are already burdened with online teaching and to make things worse, they are being asked to report to school. It is really an unfair step.”

As per SOPs released on Thursday, teachers from all kinds of schools in the state can be called to school for work related to online learning or other academic word. Schools have been asked to ensure that they sanitise their premises, get temperature checks done and teachers have been asked to follow safety guidelines like wearing masks and follow physical distancing. Similarly, schools need to follow the policy of “staying home if unwell” for teachers who are not feeling well, especially those who have co-morbidities or are above the age of 50 years.

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