School teachers facing harassment in the workplace and other job-related issues can now approach school or state-level committees that will be set up in accordance with the new Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Rules, 2015.
The Central government has recently made amendments to RTE Rules, 2010, laying down a four-tier grievance redressal mechanism for school teachers, expanding its scope from students to teachers.
The amendments were published in the official gazette and enforced from October 5, stated a notification dated September 28, by the department of school education and literacy, uploaded on the web portal of Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) on Wednesday.
“[The amendments have been carried out] in exercise of the power conferred by section 38 of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (35 of 2009),” read the notification. “The new rules shall be inserted in Part VI relating to teachers, after rule 21 (on maintaining pupil-teacher ratio in schools).”
At present, private school teachers aggrieved by their service conditions in Maharashtra can appeal to the tribunal constituted under the Maharashtra Employees of Private Schools (Condition of Service) Regulation Act, 1977. However, the new amendments to the RTE Rules, 2010 have stipulated formation of grievance redressal committee at all four levels-school, block, district and state.
Teachers will first have to approach the school management committee (SMC) and then move to block and then-district committee if unhappy with their decision. A state-level committee shall be constituted under the director of primary education.
“These committees will have to address the complaints within 15 to 90 days depending on their level,” said a senior official from the department. “Complaints relating to harassment of women teachers shall be accorded priority and redressed.”
City teachers said that the government also needs to create a code of conduct for students along with these committees. “Teachers were demanding a code of conduct that lays down action and its consequences as students were behaving rashly with the teachers,” said Rohan Bhat, chairman of the Children’s Academy Group of Schools, Kandivli and Malad.