BHUBANESWAR: Even as many Government schools in the State do not have Physical Education Teachers (PETs), the existing PETs are a disadvantaged lot.
At a time when the focus is on improving sports training in schools primarily catering to tribal students, the decade-long fight of PETs for ‘qualification specific’ salary continues till date.
Government schools have just one PET each while the private ones have more than two trainers. There are 9,672 schools (offering primary, secondary and upper primary education) in 30 districts of Odisha of which 7,876 are under the School and Mass Education (SME) Department including Government and aided secondary schools. Of this, 67.8 per cent (pc) schools have playgrounds, as per the records of District Information System for Education (DISE).
Even as the staffing pattern of Government schools in Odisha mandates appointment of at least one PET, 1,474 PET posts are vacant of the sanctioned 7,876. The existing ones are not paid well unlike their counterparts in other States.
Earlier, SME Department used to appoint candidates who completed their matriculation and did Certificate Course in Physical Education as contractual PETs in schools with a monthly grade pay of `2,200. However, the eligibility was subsequently increased to Plus Two with Bachelor of Physical Education (BPE or BPhEd) or Master of Physical Education (MPE).
Though many youths with Plus Two-BPE certificates or MPE were appointed as PETs at a later stage, their grade pay was never increased. While in States like West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, grade pay of PETs with BPE and MPE is `5,200 and `9,000 respectively, the trainers in Odisha are fighting for rectification of their grade pay for nearly a decade, said former secretary of Odisha State Association of PETs Chintamani Jena.
Assistant Director (Physical Education), Board of Secondary Education Pravakar Mangaraj said efforts are on to fill up vacant PET posts and the State Government is also looking into the pay demand of PETs.
He informed that the SME Department is now permitting appointment of part-time instructors in secondary schools that have an enrolment of over 100.
This academic session (2016-17), the Odisha Primary Education Programme Authority (OPEPA) has released a booklet ‘Health & Physical Education’ for students of primary schools. Teachers can follow easy chapters on exercises from the booklet and conduct physical education classes for students.
The department has made three classes per week mandatory for games, self-defence training and Yoga for students.