Mumbai Around 500 art teachers in schools across Maharashtra, including Mumbai, stand to lose their jobs as they have been declared surplus by the state school education department, this year.
But teachers and principals associations in Mumbai have appealed to the department to retain them saying that schools need more than one art teacher for classes 5 to 10.
Approvals by the department are mandatory for the teachers in schools that receive salary grants from the government to pay teachers’ wages. If the department finds that a school has more teachers than the student- teacher ratio of 30:1 per class, their appointments will be cancelled and they will be transferred to other schools with vacancies.
On Saturday, Ramnath Mote, member of the legislative council from the teachers’ constituency, wrote to education minister Vinod Tawde, requesting a stay on the department’s orders to cancel the appointments of these teachers. “There is need for a minimum of one art teacher per class in the secondary section because their workload is heavy,” said Mote.
In addition to holding art classes, teachers in the secondary section have to prepare students for the elementary and intermediate art exams held at the state level. “These are two important exams for students interested in pursuing a career in art. Teachers often hold extra classes to train them to crack these exams,” said Mote.
The associations have also demanded a revision of the criteria for approving teachers to non-academic subjects such as art and physical education. Currently, the department clubs them all into one group, known as special teachers. But teachers said they ought to be considered separately. “These are special skills and require separate teachers,” said Anil Bornare, senior teacher, Swami Muktananda High School in Chembur. “Unfortunately, for the past several years, the department hasn’t been issuing approvals for schools to hire many special teachers. One or two teachers end up handling all these subjects.”
Bornare added that art teachers also find it hard to get jobs. “If an art teacher is declared surplus, he or she will probably end up waiting for several years before a vacancy crops up in another school.”