New Delhi, July 3: After cracking the whip on private coaching institutions, the government is now looking to rein in teachers who neglect the classroom and devote their time to private tuition.
Schoolteachers will have to stop giving lessons outside the classroom if state governments decide to implement the right to education bill drafted by Arjun Singh’s human resource development ministry.
The draft of the bill sent to the states for their consideration says: “No teacher shall engage in any teaching activity for economic gains other than that (teaching activity) assigned by the supervisor or the employer.”
The ban applies to teachers in both government and private schools.
One of the bill’s prime objectives is to improve the quality of education. It sets down guidelines to improve teachers’ attendance and motivate them to pay more attention to their job.
Teachers in government and private schools have been accused of spending a lot of time giving private tuition, often neglecting their prime responsibility of imparting quality education in the classroom.
Teachers at government schools often pressure guardians to hire them as private tutors for their children, parents say. “In the school, they hardly teach anything. But they insist they can help the children pass their exams if they are allowed to tutor them at home,” said Sushila, whose son dropped out after failing his Class X examination at a government school in east Delhi.
Last September, the HRD ministry had announced a string of reforms in the joint entrance examination (JEE) to the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) to rein in the mushrooming, expensive coaching centres.
Under the new guidelines, students seeking admission to the IITs must score at least 60 per cent in their Class XII board examination.
The earlier rules didn’t prescribe any qualifying marks in the plus-two examination for candidates who cracked the IIT-JEE. The students, therefore, neglected their classroom studies in favour of what was taught at the coaching centres.
Having forced students to focus more on their classroom learning, the ministry now wants to improve teachers’ accountability through the education bill.
To check the rampant absenteeism among teachers, the bill empowers government schools to directly hire them. Teachers are now appointed by the state or district authorities. Officials say the new policy will make the teachers more accountable to the schools and their pupils.
The ministry, however, doesn’t have the constitutional powers to force the states to adopt the bill. Education is on the concurrent list of the Constitution. The Centre, therefore, can only advise the states to adopt the bill.