Contract Teachers in Maharashtra

The Maharashtra government's new scheme for appointing teachers in schools and colleges on contract at low salaries has justifiably come up against stiff resistance.

In July 2000, the government of Maharashtra came up with a new scheme to hire teachers on contract for schools and junior colleges. It is called Shikshan Sevak scheme and is the first scheme of its kind in the country under which a state government will fill up regular vacancies for teachers with contractual appointments. (Similar schemes in other states – Gujarat Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan – are limited to appointing assistant teachers for their adult literacy programmes.) Under the scheme, the government is to appoint fully qualified teachers on contract for the consolidated monthly salary ranging from Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000 per month without any other allowances or benefits. Details are as follows: primary school teachers: Rs 3,000; secondary school teachers: Rs 4,000; higher secondary/junior college teachers: Rs 5,000.

The initial proposal was to hire them for 10 months per year – no salary for vacations, for a period of five years before their absorption in the regular scale. This proposal has been slightly modified and the salary marginally hiked under the Bombay High Court orders. Now the contract period is to be three years without any break for the vacations and then teachers are to be automatically absorbed in the regular scale. The high court also directed the state government to fill up all the vacancies within a period of six months under the supervision of a retired district court judge. Further, the government agreed to the suggestion of the high court that the period of contract service should be counted for the retirement benefits of the teacher. Also, the scheme would not be applicable to appointments even on temporary basis, prior to the year 2000-01, the government assured the high court.

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