Jayabalan (name changed), a 35-year-old teacher at a government school in Chennai often goes home guilty after a long day’s work as he is rarely able to spend quality time with his students. The reason: Like most other government school teachers, he is burdened with administrative work on most days of the academic year.
Most government school teachers from primary to higher secondary school level, feel that they are overloaded with administrative work and other activities than teaching, which they claim it affects the students’ performance.
If the teachers’ claims about working in Tamil Nadu government schools were true, it would amount to violation of children’s legal right to acquire a good quality education as stipulated under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act or Right to Education Act (RTE), brought out in 2009.
The Act bans all non-academic work by teachers, except those related to elections, decennial census and disaster related tasks as per the notification by the Ministry of Human Resources and Development (MHRD).
However, MHRD guidelines says that all other duties, including electoral roll revision should be undertaken during holidays or during non-teaching hours or on non-teaching days. However, the situation is exactly the opposite not just in TN but across the country.
A report released by the National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA), revealed that only 19.1 per cent of a teacher’s annual school hours were spent on teaching, while 42.6 per cent time went into ‘non-teaching core activities’. Nearly 38.3 per cent time went into school management and other education department related activities. The study covered government school teachers from Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat and Odisha.
“It is pathetic that teachers in State-run schools here were involved in more than 50 non-teaching works,” says Tamil Nadu Teachers Association President P K Ilamaran.
“Teachers are involved in opening bank accounts, updating students’ Aadhaar IDs, distributing and maintaining records of entitlements like uniforms, scholarships, books, responding to department circulars and updating Education Management Information System (EMIS),” he claimed.
State Platform for Common School System – Tamil Nadu (SPCSS-TN) general secretary P B Prince Gajendra Babu, said that studies of the children will be affected since teachers’ performance will be poor due to stress. K Kumerasan, deputy secretary, TN self-financing Teachers Welfare Association, pointed out that if teachers in private schools were given non-teaching work, they would shift to another school since job opportunities are at large.
At present about three lakh teachers work in government primary, middle, high and higher secondary schools across Tamil Nadu in more than 44,000 institutions. Similarly, more than 8 lakh teachers work in about 70,000 private schools across the State.
CBSE issues ‘strict’ circular to teachers of private schools
CBSE, in a circular had asked private schools affiliated to it to ensure that their teachers are not burdened with non-teaching duties. The CBSE’s ‘strict’ circular came against the backdrop of complaints raised by the representatives of various States in a recent meeting of Central Advisory Board and Education. Accordingly, schools affiliated to CBSE ensured that teachers will not be engaged in activities other than those related to direct teaching, professional upgradation, examination evaluation among others. For activities of ministerial nature, transport or canteen, separate trained staff should be deployed by the schools, it was stated. A senior staff from the CBSE regional office said a separate monitoring team periodically check the management of CBSE affiliated institutions. “All the CBSE schools are strictly adhering the rules and regulations that teachers will not be given any non-teaching work,” he added.