Maharashtra: Schools Across State To Lose Teachers, Headmasters

Maharashtra: Schools Across State To Lose Teachers, Headmasters

The move likely to increase workload of teachers, who might end up teaching non-stop during school hours; bound to negatively impact quality of education in government schools

Musab QaziUpdated: Friday, March 22, 2024, 12:45 AM IST
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The Maharashtra government’s new ‘sanch manyata’ (staffing pattern) for schools will likely result in a significant drop in the number of teachers in thousands of smaller schools, with many of them even set to lose their headmasters.

Last week, the state issued a new method for calculating the number of teachers required in the government-run and aided schools based on the number of classes and students, which will replace the one in existence since 2015. This method increases the minimum number of students required to get at least one teacher for every class and subject. It also requires schools to get a certain number of new students before additional teachers can be provided for them.

The teachers are up in arms against the new norms, which they claim violate the pupil-teacher ratio prescribed under the Right to Education (RTE) Act. They also believe that it will lead to many of the teachers being rendered ‘excessive’. It will also increase the workload of teachers, and will result in them having to teach non-stop during school hours. This will negatively impact the education quality in government schools.

According to the new pattern, around 15,000 schools with less than 20 students will get only one teacher and a retired teacher if required. Earlier, all the schools, irrespective of their enrolment, were required to have at least two teachers. 

The previous norms also allowed separate teachers for classes 3, 4 and 5 in primary schools, provided these classes have more than 20 students. There’s no such provision in the new pattern, which simply calculates the number of teaching posts in proportion to overall student enrolment.

Similarly, the upper primary schools (classes 6-8) should have a minimum of 60 students in order to get three teachers, one each for languages, social science and science and mathematics, else they will have to contend with only two teachers. The earlier threshold for three teachers was only 35 students. 

The secondary schools (classes 9 and 10) need to have at least a cumulative of 40 students to qualify for having three teachers on-board. According to the previous staffing pattern, these schools got a minimum of three teachers even if they had even a single student in each of the classes.

There’s bad news for bigger primary schools (classes 1-5), too. The new pattern dictates that if the enrolment in these schools surpasses 210, they will get a new teacher per 40 additional students, even though the pupil-teacher ratio required for primary classes is 30.

According to the new pattern, the composite schools with multiple sections must maintain a minimum 135 students, up from the earlier threshold of 100, in order to continue having a dedicated headmaster. The teachers estimate that this rule will result in around 25,000 schools losing their head teachers.

Under the previous norms, the schools qualified for an additional teacher if their enrolment crossed the number permitted under their respective pupil-teacher ratio – 30 for primary schools, 35 for upper primary and 40 for secondary. Now, the schools need to get at least half as many students as the pupil-teacher ratio to apply for a new teacher.

Maharashtra Rajya Shikshak Sena, a teachers’ body, has opposed the norms in a letter to Chief Minister Eknath Shinde. “The government must withdraw the new pattern and make one that will ensure at least one teacher for each of the classes and subjects,” they have demanded.

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