The government’s decision to bring municipal schools in the State under the purview of the School Education Department has sent municipal school teachers into a huddle.
The department officials maintain that the move is aimed at ensuring holistic and comprehensive development of the civic schools on a par with the government and Zilla Parishad schools.
“While the proposal of the government is to ensure proper academic monitoring of the municipal schools by bringing them under the School Education Department, the Department of Municipal Administration wants complete takeover of the civic schools by the government,” said an official.
The fact that 90% of the schools are under the School Education Department and only 10% of them are under the Municipal Administration wing is partly why the government is said to be moving in this direction. “Education is not a priority area for the Municipal administrators, who have many other important things to address,” said the official, explaining that, however, the service matters of the municipal teachers would be handled separately.
“The teachers will continue to work in urban local bodies and the children will also not be shifted from their existing place,” said the official.
The municipal teachers’ associations, however, are apprehensive. They aver that the initial proposal of shifting the task of academic monitoring of their schools has undergone a change in a manner that it will have an adverse impact on the entire municipal education system.
The 2,115 municipal schools in the state have properties worth crores of rupees. The municipal education system that was started in 1858 has a glorious history. During the freedom struggle, individuals donated private lands, built buildings in them and used them for activities to promote the spirit of patriotism. Later, they gave away these buildings to the municipal bodies, they point out.
They alleged that the authorities were collecting detailed information of the properties of municipal schools and they had even released a model Preamble with an intention to get it approved by the council. “The plan is to secure the nod of the Mayors and Chairpersons, ward members and Corporators in the 22 municipal Corporations and 110 municipalities in the State for take over of this vast property,” said State president of the Municipal Teachers’ Federation (MTF) S. Ramakrishna.
He said as per the norm, any decision on the merger would be possible only with the consent of the Parents’ Management Committees, and added that the court ruling on unified service rules would also not permit it.
The MTF has called for constitution of Municipal School Teachers Parirakshana Joint Action Committees in every town to oppose the government move.
Mr. Ramakrishna said in urban slum habitations, the responsibility to extend education facility to the SCs, STs and BCs was that of the civic council, and argued that the quality of English medium education imparted by municipal schools was better than the Government schools.
On Saturday, leaders of Andhra Pradesh Teachers’ Federation staged a demonstration at the municipal office in Chittoor against the “merger” proposal, in Nellore and Kadiri towns, teachers formed a JAC and submitted a representation to the local municipal officials and at Dharmavaram, leaders of the Federation of Andhra Pradesh Teachers’ Organisations staged a protest.