Saturday, March 8, 2014

'Primary school principals have to teach too'

'Primary school principals have to teach too'


Barely within a year of creating the posts, the state education department was forced to act on complaints of government primary school principals ignoring their teaching responsibilities by issuing a notice to them, stating that they would have to give equal importance to teaching. It was alleged that principals had exempted themselves from the teaching workload and was only concentrating on their administrative responsibilities.
As per the instructions, all primary heads or school principals have to take at least 18 hours of classes a week, just like every other teachers. They will not be allowed to only execute their administrative duties or use that as an excuse for not taking classes or exempting themselves from teaching.
While the notice comes barely a year after creating the posts of primary school principals, the instructions are for both school head masters and principals alike.
The posts of school principals in government primary schools were created by the state Education Department in 2012. The primary schools across the state that were, so far, governed by the senior-most teachers (mukhya shikshak) now run by school heads as principals (acharya).
The posts were created in around 34,000 primary schools across the state in an attempt for better supervision and implementation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act.
"It has been brought to the notice of this office that head teachers in several primary schools in the state are only taking care of the administrative work and not taking up teaching work at all. Taking serious note of this practice, which is not in accordance with Rule 70 (2) of Gujarat Primary Education Rules 1949, this decision was taken," states the notice issued by the Principal Secretary's (Education) office. The education inspectors from Block and Cluster Resource Centre Co-ordinator have been appointed to monitor the schools.
Apart from their teaching work, principals will also have to keep a tab on teachers who are irregular, absent or who come late to school.
"The issue was recently brought to the notice of the education department and the department took prompt action in this regard. Taking steps as per the notice, education observers of the school board have already taken up monitoring work of schools to ensure principals and teachers abide by the rule," Ahmedabad municipal school board chairman Jagdish Bhavsar said.
"While for evaluating the education standard, the school board has planned weekly reading and writing exercises, unannounced inspections being carried out to ensure principals are following the teaching schedule. Reports thus prepared against defaulting teachers will be sent to the education department," added Bhavsar.
The principals have to prepare reports of such teachers and issue appropriate notice to all such teachers. "Improving education standards of the school is the primary objective of the principals," the notice states.
At present, 10,000 posts of principals for primary schools have been created and approved in the budget. Of these, 5,000 posts were filled in July last year, while the process of appointment of another 5,000 has started with the centralised Head Teachers Aptitude Test (HTAT) being conducted on September 1 across the state.

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