|MNS corporator Asmita Shinde teaches in the absence of regular teachers
Around 86,000 primary school students studying in 319 schools run by the Pune Municipal Corporation’s school education board were left in the lurch on January 11 and 12, when most of the teachers took off on a two-day trip to the scenic coastal town of Oros in Sindhudurg district — ostensibly to discuss issues they face.
This meant that for two days, students were taught by peons, kindergarten teachers and even a corporator. Of the city’s 1,900 municipal school teachers, 1,460 went to Oros to attend the meet. The statewide meet was organised by the Maharashtra State Primary School Teachers Association.
While it’s not clear what exactly was discussed during their stay at the seaside resort on the Konkan coast, at least six PMC school prinicipals contacted by Mirror admitted that most of their teachers had gone to Oros, leaving classes to be conducted by unqualified persons.
Teachers pay from their own pockets to attend the meet. The mass absenteeism by the primary school teachers flies in the face of the PMC education board’s directive, which lays down that not more than 10 per cent of teachers from each school should be allowed to attend the conference.
Ram Borkar, member, PMC education board, said, “The Shikshan Mandal had issued circulars to all the 319 schools saying that attendance at the conference should be only in a representative manner and that not more than 10 per cent of the existing school staff should attend.
However, schools have disregarded the circular, which has led to the disarray. Let’s see what corrective action can be taken.” Sources said such conferences had been held at least on two previous occasions — at Oros in 2007 and Nasik in 2010. On both occasions, the leaves of teachers who had attended had been cancelled.
The lack of teachers in schools on Friday and Saturday was noticed by at least one corporator — Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) corporator Asmita Shinde from Bibvewadi who took history classes at the Sitaram Abaji Bibve Primary School. “I taught the students for an hour.
It wasn’t exhaustive or curriculum- driven but just an effort from my side as the children were just sitting around without a teacher. It’s appalling that peons and kindergarten teachers are made to teach in lieu of the fulltime primary teachers.
If teachers want to take a week-long break for such conferences, a sound and credible alternative arrangement needs to be in place.” Mangala Pawar, Principal of School no 68G from Bibwewadi, said, “The entire school staff of 13 attended the conference and the school was run by peons and other teachers from the nursery school.
We did not want to shut down unnecessarily.” Balasaheb Tanpure, principal, Chintamanrao Deshmukh Primary School of Indiranagar, said, “The staff of nine teachers attended the conference. The school was managed by the kindergarten staff and peons.”
► Of the total staff of 18, everyone attended the conference. The peons and kindergarten teachers managed
- Sunanda Patil, Baburao Genba Balwadkar Vidya Mandir
► Nine teachers attended the conference and the school was managed by the kindergarten staff and peons
- Balasaheb Tanpure Principal, Chintamanrao Deshmukh Primary School, Indiranagar
► All 11 teachers attended the conference. However, the peons and kindergarten teachers did a good job as an alternative arrangement
- Nivrutti Mande, Principal, Sitaram Abaji Bibve Primary Boys’ School, Bibvewadi
► Attending the conference should be representative with not more than 10 per cent of the existing staff attending. However, schools have breached this suggestion and thus caused chaos
- Ram Borkar Member, PMC Education board running the school.
► There are two of us running the school. While I was away, the other teacher made up for my absence
- Shailesh Ambekar, Principal, School No 57B, Shivajinagar
► Six of the seven teachers were at the conference so one teacher with some kindergarten teachers conducted classes
- Rajani Jagtap, Principal, Narveer Tanajiwadi Prathamik Vidyamandir
► I taught the students for an hour since they were without teachers. It’s appalling that peons and kindergarten teachers are made to teach
- Asmita Shinde , MNS Corporator, Bibvewadi