Teachers’ groups oppose 50% attendance mandate in SOPs, write to Maharashtra education department to withdraw rule

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Updated on Oct 31, 2020 12:17 AM IST
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ByAnkita Bhatkhande, Mumbai

A day after the state education department released standard operating procedures (SOPs) for teachers and mandated 50% attendance, teachers from across the state have opposed the decision.

On Friday, several teachers’ groups wrote to the education department, urging officials to withdraw the attendance rule. “Schools are shut, and teachers are imparting online education to students on a daily basis. The department has also planned to gradually reopen schools for students. So, what is the need to call teachers to school at this point,” asked Anil Bornare from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) teachers’ cell.

Several principals from Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) schools said that civic officials had asked them to take photographs daily as proof of teachers’ attendance. Teachers have also been asked to visit various localities and teach students as per their needs.

“Teachers travel from all parts of the city and come to school. Now with restrictions on travel, they will have to shell out huge sums from their own pockets to come thrice a week. Besides, schools do not have the necessary infrastructure for online learning. Conducting online classes with so many issues is a big hurdle,” said a school principal, requesting anonymity.

Rajesh Pandya of the Teachers Democratic Front, said, “Teachers are already burdened with online teaching, and to make things worse, they are being asked to report to school. It is an unfair step.”

As per the SOPs released on Thursday, teachers from across the state can be called to their respective schools for work related to online learning or other academic duties. Schools have been asked to ensure that they sanitise their premises, get temperature checks done. Teachers have been asked to follow safety guidelines like wearing masks and follow social distancing.

Schools need to also follow the policy of “staying home if unwell” for teachers who are not feeling well, especially those who have comorbidities or are above the age of 50 years.

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Thursday, December 09, 2021