Teachers of classes 1 to 9 and class 11 of state-run schools are confused after the office of the director of education (secondary and higher secondary) issued a circular regarding mandatory 50 per cent attendance of teachers to facilitate the start of 2021-22 academic year.
Teachers have questioned the need to travel to schools in view of state school education minister Varsha Gaikwad’s recent announcement about suspending offline classes due to Covid-19. Meanwhile, the state government hasn’t yet permitted school teachers to commute by local trains as part of lockdown restrictions.
As per a circular dated June 14, the school academic year in Maharashtra begins on June 15, with Vidarbha region beginning classes from June 28. It mandates 50% attendance of teachers for classes 1 to 9 and class 11, and 100% attendance for classes 10 and 12.
In response, teachers said the state school education department is contradicting itself. On condition of anonymity, a teacher said the rule is not in consonance with Gaikwad’s announcement that regular classes have started online on June 15. The teacher also said that the minister had stressed on the need to provide vaccination to all teachers, non-teaching staff and students before reopening schools physically.
This has left the teaching staff perplexed. The teacher quoted above said, “Why are we being forced to commute to school amid Covid-19 when most of us have not been vaccinated? Daily online classes are anyway being conducted from home.”
A senior official of the state school education department said, “Compulsory 100% attendance for teachers of classes 10 and 12 is needed as teachers have to complete the assessment process for the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) board students.” The official said principals of schools have been given the right to permit teachers of classes 1 to 9 and class 11 to come to campus to conduct online sessions if needed.