Prachee Kulkarni, Jul 17, 2017

Source : Mirror

Terribly short-staffed, Ramchandra Bankar School has only 15 teachers for its 1,500 plus students, who are often made to sit on the floor for the want of benches; parents plan protest outside school today
Ramchandra Bankar School in the Gondhalenagar area of Hadapsar is perhaps the worst school run by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC). It is an English-medium school with 1,500 plus students, but only 15 teachers between them.There aren’t enough benches in the classrooms and many students have to sit on the floor. They also have inadequate Class IV staff, which means the children also have to clean the school themselves.Mukesh Wadkar, whose daughter is studying in Class I, rued to Mirror, “I am regretting the decision to enrol my daughter in this school. It’s been a month, but they don’t have enough teachers. My daughter comes back from school and tells me that she didn’t get a bench to sit. She even said that students were made to sweep the floor. The toilets are filthy. The number of students in each class is more than 120, so they barely understand what is going on in class. What can I do now?“ The parents are planning a protest outside the school on Monday morning, along with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) corporator Yogesh Sasane. “It’s been a month since the school reopened. There are 1,676 students studying in this school, from classes I to VIII. But the school has only 15 teachers. Each teacher has to handle almost 140 to 150 students. There aren’t enough benches and the students have to sit on the floor. At times, they are made to even clean the school. This is why we have launched an agitation on the issue. We are going to visit the school with the parents on Monday morning and protest,“ said Sasane.

Sunil Gaikwad, another parent whose son studies in Class II, chorused, “This has been the condition since the last four years. Previously, teachers from various corporates and NGOs used to come and teach. So, at least some quality used to be maintained. But now, they have stopped coming. The school has really good infrastructure. But most of the rooms are locked due to the lack of staff. Why does PMC give permission to open the school if they don’t have enough staff?“ In the school’s defence, principal Lavina Chandekar told Mirror, “At the moment, we are falling short of 10 teachers. We have 27 classes and 15 teachers. So, we have to combine classes at times. We have been following up with the PMC’s education department for the appointment of teachers since April.But, by and large, this is the condition every year.They appoint teachers on a temporary basis for six months. So, usually, the teachers join by August 1.We expect the same to happen this year as well.“

Former mayor and fellow NCP corporator Vaishali Bankar, who founded the school, rubbished the parents’ claims, calling it a mere pub licity stunt. “This is the condition in every PMC school. Teachers are appointed by the end of July.And they ensure that they cover the entire syllabus. This year, an advertisement had been published by PMC in May. But, they offered a salary of Rs 6,000. So, no one applied. Now, they have revised the salary and published a new advert. Once the appointment procedure is done, PMC will send a few teachers to our school as well,“ she insisted.

Directing the ire at Sasane, Bankar’s husband and former corporator Sunil Bankar continued, “These new corporators just want to establish themselves by doing such stunts. If they want to raise any issue, they should raise it in the general body meeting of PMC first. They can send an application to the education department and even the municipal commissioner. What is the point of an agitation? How will it achieve anything?“ But Sasane claimed that this school is just a mirror to the condition of other schools in the area. “We need almost 87 employees for various posts, ranging from peons to teachers, for 27 schools in Hadapsar area. I had written letters to the municipal commissioner. But the staff has not been appointed yet,“ he said.

PMC’s education officer Shubhangi Chavan claimed that this is one of the 50 English medium schools run by PMC. “We need to appoint almost 300 teachers for these schools. We had recruited a few teachers on a temporary basis for six months.They left after their term was over. We had started the recruitment procedure in April itself. But, as we decided to give preference to the teachers who had cleared the common entrance test (CET), we didn’t find suitable candidates. We have published an advertisement again and hope to find suitable candidates to deploy them in schools, according to their requirements,“ she said.