Friday, March 7, 2014

Special safety policy for female teachers

GUWAHATI: The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act may have brought hope to millions of children but has also made life difficult for hundreds of women teachers posted in remote and unsafe areas.

A recent gang rape has triggered panic and insecurity among women teachers, who are now reluctant to take up jobs in these far-off places. The gang rape of a school teacher posted at a remote location in Darrang district in the state has now forced chief minister Tarun Gogoi to announce a safety transfer and posting policy for female school teachers.

Gogoi took the decision following a flurry of applications from several female school teachers seeking transfers from their present postings in rural areas.

A woman school teacher working at a distant village in Morigaon district told TOI, "I have submitted applications to both chief minister Tarun Gogoi and education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma seeking a transfer. It is very difficult for me to work here, as a feeling of insecurity constantly haunts me. I constantly receive prank calls and am scared." She has asked her businessman husband from their native place at Sibsagar to move in with her. She said she knows several of her colleagues who are going through a tough time because of their job postings.

Education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said, "Candidates have chosen their districts of posting and later the respective district authorities and Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) posted them to single-teacher schools or where there were no teachers at all. This was done following the provisions of the RTE Act and all these schools are in remote areas. These details were clearly mentioned in our advertisements."

The CM on Tuesday asked chief secretary Jitesh Khosla to constitute a committee and formulate the policy. "This (order) comes in the backdrop of a recent unfortunate incident involving a woman teacher at Dalgaon in Darrang district. The transfer and posting policy for women school teachers will be aimed at ensuring safe and congenial working conditions for them," said a statement from the CM's office.

An official source said the chief secretary had already set up a three-member committee headed by former chief secretary P P Varma. Other members include commissioner and secretary of elementary education Hemanta Narzary and deputy director of elementary education Asomi Gogoi.

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