The Goa government is clearly violating the guidelines mandated under the Unlock 4 by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, which clearly states that teachers and non-teaching staff may be called to schools for work at ‘50% strength, from September 21 onwards’.
However, the situation in the state is clearly the opposite. Teaching and non-teaching staff have been asked to report to schools to work – at 100% workforce – from June onwards.
The new Unlock 4 guidelines issued by the MHA, under section 1 (i) c. clearly states, “States/Ut’s may permit upto 50% of teaching and non-teaching staff to be called to the schools at a time for online teaching/tele-counseling and related work, in areas outside the Containment Zones only, with effect from 21st September 2020 for which, Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) will be issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW).”
Teachers in Goa, however, have been reporting in full strength to schools to conduct online classes, which many have argued can be also easily conducted from home by the teachers.
A similar issue had come up last month also, and following pressure, on July 25, the government had issued a circular allowing teaching and non-teaching staff to work from home – for only five days though – till July 31st.
The new unlock 4 guidelines clearly vindicate that the state government has been violating the central ministry guidelines. Also, several petitions from teacher organizations and school heads have been repeatedly ignored by the government.
“The central government directives state that states should strictly implement the Unlock 4,0 guidelines, what about penalty for states like Goa who have violated the norms all along?” questioned Dattatrey Naik, president of All Goa Secondary School Teachers Association.
A certain number of teachers have also been reported positive over the month, and a fear of a possible spread remains very large, considering the daily commute to schools. Furthermore, across the state, cases have been increasing at a very rapid pace.
It has been reported that the Director of Education, Santosh Amonkar had forwarded a file to the chief minister – who also is the state’s education minister – with regards to implementing work schedule as recommended by the central government guidelines for school teachers. To date, no directions have been issued as per this regard.