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State schools to get grants before Ganeshotsav

The grants will benefit 20,000 to 25,000 teachers in schools, which were categorised as permanently unaided so far

mumbai Updated: Aug 30, 2016 11:10 IST
Puja Pednekar

Over 2,200 schools in Maharashtra, including 52 in Mumbai, will be paid pending salaries and arrears before Ganeshotsav vacation begins on September 5. Education minister Vinod Tawde assured the schools on Monday that they will dispense grants worth Rs163 crore to schools.

The grants will benefit 20,000 to 25,000 teachers in schools, which were categorised as permanently unaided so far. This comes after an intense campaign by school managements and teachers, petitioning the state government repeatedly to delete the words ‘permanently unaided’ in their classification.

Acceding to their demand, the state cabinet on June 14 approved funding up to 20 per cent of their expenses.

But teachers continued to protest as the government resolution for implementing the decision was not released. The issue was raised in the monsoon assembly session in July but to no avail.

Teachers’ associations met Tawde on Monday and threatened to observe ‘a black day’ on September 5 if the grants are not disbursed till then. “The grants have been pending for the past three years. Tawde assured us that they will be distributed after the cabinet gives its nod today (Tuesday),” said Anil Bornare, member of the state school teachers federation and senior teacher, Swami Muktananda High School, Chembur.

Cash-strapped schools have been struggling to make ends meet on a shoe-string budget, said teachers. “Teachers are working on a low pay, in some schools management is unable to pay them anything. Schools are charging higher fees from the students, but it is still not sufficient to pay teachers as per the sixth or the seventh pay commission,” said Prashant Redij, spokesperson of the Maharashtra School Principals’ Association and principal of Hilda Castelino English High School, Malad.

The schools were declared eligible for aid in 2013 after undergoing a thorough assessment by the government. It was based on different parameters such as the enrollment numbers, sanctioned teachers and infra-structure among others. Following that the state decided upon a total of 1, 627 schools in Maharashtra and a close to 1,000 more were re-assessed and later approved.