Ambiguity prevails over working hours of teachers
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Govt had issued a notification in February 2011 to increase working hours from six to eight.
Two years have passed since a government notification directed the daily working hours of primary (Class I-VIII) school teachers in the state — both government and private — to be increased from six to eight hours. But teachers are still following the old schedule as ambiguity prevails over the status of the notification.
The notification was passed by the state government in February 2011 as a mandate for implementation of the Right to Education Act. This was met with strong opposition from the teaching community. Result: The decision supposed to be implemented from the 2011-12 academic session continues to be suspended.
A few schools in certain districts, including Ahmedabad, tried to increase working hours but after protests from the teaching community, they reverted to the old system.
Surprisingly, such is the situation at present that even officials are not certain about the current status or the future of this notification.
One of the reasons for this ambiguity is another circular issued by the Director Secondary Education E P Desai on August 20, 2012. The circular stated: "After recommendation from a committee that held a meeting on June 4, 2012, school buildings in corporation limits, districts and big cities where primary and secondary classes are running in the same building, school timing of 11 am to 5 pm was not feasible. While, this timing can be followed in rural areas where there is availability of space."
Taking this circular as an alibi, while a few claimed that the decision of eight working hours under the RTE Act has been withdrawn, others say there was no written communication stating withdrawal of the notification, but it was simply stalled after several representations were made to the government on behalf of teachers' associations. Thus, the eight-working-hour notification is not followed in primary government and private schools.
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