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Maharashtra Govt To Reappoint Retired Teachers - Is This A Threat To Civic Schools?

www.mumbailive.com | March 22, 2024

This decision aims to reduce primary school dropout rates and harmonise the state’s educational system with the National Education Policy (NEP) 20201. In the state, there are 14,985 schools with fewer than 20 kids.

According to a recent government resolution (GR), the school education department opted to appoint one retired teacher and one regular teacher in schools with fewer than 10 students after failing to close any schools with fewer than 20 kids. The GR also raised the requirement from 100 to 150 students in a class for a full-time principal.

Education experts are concerned that this choice will compel parents to transfer their kids out of government schools, which will lead to the closure of these institutions by the government.

This decision aims to reduce primary school dropout rates and harmonise the state’s educational system with the National Education Policy (NEP) 20201. In the state, there are 14,985 schools with fewer than 20 kids.

The Maharashtra Principal Association says that this decision can affect teachers’ jobs. On this, Mumbai Live spoke with JML School Principal Mrs. Damayanti Bhattacharya, Assistant Professor at FLAME University Juhi Sidharth, and Principal of KJ Somaiya School Parveen Shaikh.

Mrs. Damayanti Bhattacharya said, “Retired teachers leave with experience, and it’s good to retain them past the retirement age of 58 to address the lack of experienced teachers and guide the young teachers. Schools will not shut down if the quality of education is good.”

She said, “The emphasis is on delivering the promised education to students to retain them in schools. Children will not leave schools easily if teachers do their job properly and the administration is strong, delivering quality education.”

Mahendra Ganpule, spokesperson of the Maharashtra Principal Association, said that the school system will suffer if retired instructors are appointed by the government. This could eventually hurt instructors’ jobs in these kinds of schools.

Stressing on this point, Prof. Juhi Sidharth said, “There is a need to prioritise younger teacher employment to tackle unemployment among qualified educators. Hence, one should consider the implications of hiring retired teachers for short-term benefits9. The need for long-term recruitment strategies is highlighted amid concerns about neglecting eligible young teachers.”

Addressing potential impacts on government schools, Juhi Sidharth clarifies that recruiting retired teachers serves as a temporary solution for schools with low student numbers to avoid closures. This aligns with constitutional rights to education by ensuring accessibility despite enrollment challenges in certain areas.

Emphasising support for unemployed young teachers and technological advancements in education remains critical for sustaining an effective schooling system. She also said, “The importance of balancing temporary measures like hiring retired teachers with long-term plans focused on recruiting younger educators equipped with modern teaching methods will be beneficial.”

Retired teachers can also be helpful when working teachers go on leave. When an employed teacher goes on leave for a longer period, a retired teacher who also has expertise in teaching that particular subject can easily take over, and this would help students to complete their academic work on time as well.

Parveen Shaikh opined that hiring retired teachers at schools with classes of less than 20 students is a temporary but great idea. She said, it completely depends on how you are hiring a retired teacher. Where are you placing them and how do you use their services? This is a very important part. There are many ways in which we can harvest their wisdom. As an administrator, I have faced huge difficulties in filling leave vacancies. A lot of young teachers go on maternity leave for six months, or many take a month-long leave for some reason. At this time, getting another teacher is a difficult task because nobody wants a temporary role. So I, as an administrator, would love to hire retired teachers as they can work during that period.”17

When one is new to any job, seniors train the new hires. So, a retired teacher can mentor new teachers as well. Parveen said, “I would look at them for mentoring new teachers. Normally, when a fresher teacher joins the school, the first year is a bit difficult for them because there are so many new things that they are learning. Hence, retired teachers can play a good role in mentoring them.”

Prof. Juhi Sidharth in conversation with Mumbai Live. Prof. Sidharth is a faculty of Public Policy at FLAME University.

(Source:- https://www.mumbailive.com/en/education/maharashtra-govt-decides-to-reappoint-retired-teachers-83425?utm_campaign=daily&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=social )