The Maharashtra state education department has declared the academic year 2021-22’s summer vacations for all state-run schools beginning today (May1). While schools in around the state’s Vidarbha area (Nagpur and Amravati divisions) which witness extreme summers will begin June 28, schools in the remaining areas will reopen June 15 onwards.
Throughout the closure of schools across the state due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdown since March 17, 2020, teachers in the state’s government-run schools continued teaching through various online methods and schools remained shut for just nine days during Diwali last year (November 12- 20). In contrast, this year the holidays will extend to 45-59 days. However, the first long break since the pandemic won’t bring much relief for the state board school teachers who have been allotted various administrative duties by the government.
As the state struggles to contain rising infections due to the second wave of the pandemic, government school teachers are conducting local level surveys to determine various COVID related aspects and have been posted at various check-posts across the state to keep a check on people engaging in unnecessary travel.
“During non-COVID times, teachers were free once results-related work was over with, but the pandemic has put the various state departments under tremendous pressure and despite the state’s administrative department working 24×7, there is a shortage of manpower. Government school teachers have been roped in for several administrative duties under the Disaster Management Act (2005 ). Unfortunately, school teachers have been a target of the common public’s ire or have contracted infections themselves while carrying out these duties. The government needs to ensure vaccination of all teachers since they are frontline workers and also ensure safety of teachers in the state,” says Mahendra Ganpule, speaker and ex-president, principal’s association, Pune district referring to media reports about teachers on check-post duty being attacked, adds Ganpule.
Teachers will also be called for supervisory and other exam-related duties as and when it decides to hold exams like the Maharashtra school scholarship exams (for class 5 and 8 on May 23) or class 12 boards etc. During the lockdown period, teachers were mandated to make calls and connect with individual students in their localities to ensure they had access to education. According to the state’s education department, it provided online education to more than 74 lakh class1-12 students in the absence of physical classes during the lockdown.
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