The parliamentary standing committee on ‘Empowerment of Women’ addressed many issues relating to Women Teachers in its recent report. From working conditions to pay to recruitment rules to leaves, the committee looked at many issues. Here is a review.
The parliamentary standing committee on Empowerment of Women empowerment listed out 13 recommendations in their report on ‘Working conditions of women teachers in schools’, which were categorized into five broad categories. Two of the categories were discussed in the previous story. In this story, the remaining three categories concerning the workload, facilities, recruitment, representation, and condition of ad-hoc & contractual teachers, and pay parity will be discussed.
Workload of Teachers
Issue: As per RTE, 2009, teachers shall be deployed for only three non-teaching works: election duty, census, and disaster relief. Yet, women teachers were engaged in school maintenance, repair work, procurement of stationery, bill payments, etc. and that too alone beyond school hours, according to North Delhi Municipal Corporation. This is not safe and extra work can take a toll on mental health of the teachers which might affect their teaching quality.
Recommendation: Recruitment of clerical staff to carry out non-academic work would reduce the burden on teachers. Furthermore, a policy level intervention has also been suggested to ensure that the deployment of teachers for election duties or census does not affect their teaching.
Action taken: While clerical staff have been employed at schools like JNVs, and KVs, in schools under East and North Delhi Municipal Corporations, Headmaster/ Headmistress who are free from teaching work carry out the non-academic work.
Availability of Toilets
Issue: Unavailability of toilets is one major reason for the drop out of girl students at the secondary school level. Separate toilets should be made available for girl students and women teachers. In East Delhi Municipal Corporation separate toilets were available for females but shared between female teachers and female students. Meanwhile, schools of New Delhi Municipal Council, KVs, and JNVs had well maintained separate toilets for female teachers. However, in some schools, the number of toilets were not increased in proportion to the number of teachers.
Action taken: Under the Swachh Vidyalaya Initiative undertaken by MHRD, over 4.17 Lakh toilers were constructed across 2.61 lakh government schools in a year up to 15 August 2015. Under the Samagra Shiksha scheme for States and UTs, annual budgetary allocation is made for improving infrastructure including toilets construction. Over 5.14 lakh separate girls’ toilets and 3.83 lakh boys’ toilets were constructed up to March 2019. The municipal corporations in Delhi too had taken steps to construct separate toilets for female staff.
Comments of the committee: The committee lauded the efforts taken by MHRD, MHA, Directorate of Education, and the municipals corporations in Delhi. The committee noted that proper maintenance and upkeep of toilets should be ensured through regular water supply.
Transfers/Postings of Women Teachers
Issue: Transfers/postings are given to women teachers prioritizing spouse unification, location of residence after marriage, and transfer to place of their choice. The committee re-iterated that it was necessary to have a humane approach towards transfer and posting of women teachers as this played an important role in empowering them.
Recommendation: MHRD was asked to share the best practices of not just Karnataka model (Teacher transfer in Karnataka is governed through legislation) but the best practices from other states for teacher transfer with all the states and UTs. Also, favorable transfer policy for women teachers which cannot be misused needs to be drafted. Further, to ensure transparency in the process, the committee recommended the ministry to prepare a robust and system-based transfer policy.
Action taken: MHRD stated that it had advised states and UTs to adopt the best practices of other states and shared the same through the SE SHAGUN portal. JNVs have an online automated transparent policy. Likewise, North Delhi Municipal Corporation has implemented an online transfer policy where teachers can choose and apply for transfer on their own.
Relaxation of Recruitment rules
Issue: There could be multiple reasons which force women to take a break from their education & career. Thus, there are relaxations in maximum age limit for teaching posts for women, especially from reserved categories. However, the relaxation across different schools is not uniform. The age relaxation for TGT female teachers is 10 years in NDMC whereas schools under Delhi Government do not provide any relaxation for PGT teachers.
Recommendation: MHRD was asked to re-examine the existing provisions on age relaxation in recruitment rules and bring relaxation in provisions for TGT and PGT Teachers at par with each other. Further, the concerned authorities should provide support to women teachers to pursue postgraduation or PhD.
Action taken: MHRD stated that National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) was given the authority to prescribe age limits for teachers. KVs and JNVs provide 10 years age relaxation irrespective of category. New Delhi Municipal Council provides female assistants with full pay leave for one year to qualify B.Ed or higher-level courses through SCERT.
SC & ST representation among Women Teachers
Issue: MHRD data on JNVs shows that SC representation of women in Bhopal region was only 62 out of 580 teachers, while in Hyderabad region, the same was 12 out of 586. In Jaipur region, only 23 out 444 women teachers were from ST community while Lucknow region reported 19 out of 587. This indicates under representation of weaker sections of society.
Recommendation: MHRD was asked to immediately look at the reasons behind the shortfall and fill up the vacancies reserved for the communities.
Action taken: In KVs, it has been stated that there is no shortfall in SC and ST community employees. JNVs stated that there is not any specific reservation policy for female teachers. Department of Education, Delhi informed that percentage of women teachers from ST and SC categories was 3.31% and 16.32% respectively.
Pay parity of Contractual Teachers
Issue: In Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya, it was observed that majority of the teachers were contractual, and their pay was much lower than what other teachers received. The teachers were also on contract for many years. Thus, the committee expressed its concern over the working conditions of teachers hired on contractual or ad-hoc basis.
Recommendation: Selection process of ad-hoc teachers should be made transparent. They should be given full salary and all allowances as per rules. Unqualified or under qualified teachers should not be appointed by schools as ad-hoc teachers. Measures to overcome shortage of women teachers should be taken up immediately to ensure educational standards are not compromised.
Action taken: States have their own set of salaries and allowances payable, according to MHRD. In JNVs, the process of recruiting contract teachers is transparent. South DMC stated that the payment given is on par with that of regular teachers. All the concerned institutions stated that only qualified teachers are hired.
Issue: Many school authorities refuse to sanction Child Care Leaves for women employees even in genuine cases. Also, surplus teachers are unavailable at schools to substitute for teachers on leave.
Recommendation: Measures to overcome challenges of teachers to apply for leave should be taken up. Minimum 10% extra teachers should be recruited.
Action taken: In JNVs and KVs, regular employees get a maternity leave of six months and Child Care Leave for 2 years. CCS Leave rules notified by the central government are applicable to all teachers in schools under Department of Education and Delhi Municipal Corporations.
Pay Parity in Private Schools
Issue: Teachers in private and un-aided schools are being paid salaries in cash or kept on contract for years. There can be disparity in salary payment.
Recommendation: Ministry must conduct audits to know ground reality. Rules and regulations for private and unaided schools should be formulated and enforced. Salaries should be routed through government educational authorities and cash payment should be avoided.
Action taken: CBSE had listed out various provisions incorporated in affiliation bye- laws. However, the committee has not accepted this response.
Featured Image: Issues relating to Women Teachers