Teachers Highlight Five Key Reforms for Quality Education in Maharashtra

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As the Lok Sabha elections are approaching, educators and members of teachers’ associations in Maharashtra are expressing their concerns about the pressing need for reforms in the education system. The Indian Express has talked to many teachers to understand their views on improving educational facilities.

Here are the five crucial reforms advocated by teachers to catalyze positive changes in the education landscape:

1. New Learning Initiatives: Vandana Korade, an educator at ZP Sarole Bhor Pune, embarked on a journey to learn Spanish two years ago using online resources like YouTube and language apps. Her aim was not personal enrichment but to equip her students at Gorhe Budruk, Pune Zilla Parishad school with global skills. Korade lamented the lack of such initiatives in Zilla Parishad schools, emphasizing the necessity for fresh ideas to enrich students’ learning experiences.

Korade remarked, “Who do you think comes up with new ideas? It is the young ones. But when there is no hiring for ten years, from where will new ideas seep into the everyday teaching at Zilla Parishad schools? There is no intervention by the government to enhance the skills of the students.”

2. Timely Recruitment Drives: The Maharashtra School Education Department’s recent announcement of a significant teacher recruitment drive for 21,678 posts in February 2024 was met with relief after a prolonged wait. However, Vandana Korade highlighted the adverse effects of prolonged vacancies, as senior teachers shoulder additional responsibilities, ultimately affecting student welfare.

Korade stated, “When these posts are empty for so long, who do you think takes up the responsibilities? Senior teachers take up tasks of the headmaster, and automatically it becomes a cycle where everyone is taking up someone else’s responsibilities. In the end, it is the students who suffer.”

3. Non-teaching Burden: Teachers in Maharashtra are burdened with non-teaching responsibilities, ranging from door-to-door surveys for Maratha reservations to maintaining Aadhar card records of students. Despite repeated protests, the situation remains unchanged, leaving educators questioning the government’s commitment to academic excellence.

Bhausaheb Chaskar, a veteran teacher near Shirdi, echoed Korade’s concerns, emphasizing the need for clerical appointments in schools to alleviate the burden on educators.

4. Old Pension Scheme: Teachers across the country have rallied for the restoration of the old pension scheme, decrying the reduction in pension benefits under the current scheme. Vandana Korade highlighted the adverse impact on teachers’ financial security, urging authorities to reconsider the pension structure.

5. Regulation of New Institutes and Infrastructure Improvement: Subhash Athawale, general secretary of Mumbai University and College Teachers Association, stressed the importance of government oversight in regulating new educational institutes. Dr. Shamrao P. Lawande, President of the Maharashtra Federation of University and College Teachers Organisation (MFUCTO), underscored the necessity for infrastructural development to accommodate the increased enrolment envisioned in the National Education Policy.

As Maharashtra gears up for elections, these voices from the education sector underscore the pressing need for reforms to ensure quality education for all.