The Telangana government on Friday revised its order regarding school and college education. In its fresh order, the Special Chief Secretary Chitra Ramchandran said that only 50% of the teaching and non-teaching staff are required to physically attend schools for online teaching from September 21. The decision comes in the wake of nearly 600 school teachers in the state testing positive for coronavirus.
The earlier order by the director of school education had mandated all the teachers to come to school and visit the residence of students to monitor them.
“A maximum of 50% of teaching and non-teaching staff are permitted to be called to the schools/colleges at a time for online teaching/tele counselling related work, in areas outside the containment zones only, with effect from 21 September, 2020 until further orders,” the order reads.
Until September 21, teachers are instructed to work from home through the internet via WhatsApp or other online study groups.
The decision was welcomed by the teachers’ association. Speaking to TNM, United Teachers’ Federation state general secretary Chava Ravi said, “Finally the government has taken the right decision after making several representations. It is a bit late though. Many of our colleagues have already been infected with the disease and are under isolation.”
Ravi also expressed his disappointment at the government not providing any clarity over the modalities about incentives for the infected staff and how they can avail leaves after falling prey to the disease.
According to Telangana Progressive Teachers’ Federation (TPTF), an association of government school teachers, at least 600 school teachers in the state have tested positive for the novel coronavirus since the schools began functioning from August 27. The highest number of teachers infected with the disease was recorded in Jagtial district (60).
The academic year for schools began from September 1. In view of the coronavirus pandemic, education for school children is imparted digitally, through computer, mobile and TV. Teachers are expected to attend schools regularly and occasionally monitor the students at their residence, to see if they are facing any problem with e-learning. The surprise visits to the residence of children compromised the health safety of both the teachers and the students, TPTF had said earlier.
Besides the risk of infection, the monitoring of students was also an invasion of privacy, the teachers had argued. Complaining about the same, they had submitted representations to the higher authorities and the opposition party leaders.