MADURAI: The Madras High Court Bench here observed on Wednesday that teachers are like Gods but they cannot question every government decision taken in public interest, especially for children belonging to weaker sections of the society.
The court dismissed petitions by Tamil Nadu government secondary grade (SG) teachers challenging a recent government order asking them to take classes for LKG and UKG students under the Montessori system in 'Anganwadis' run by the Social Welfare Department.
It has become a fashion for government teachers, who are paid a handsome salary, to rush to the court against each and every decision of the government taken in the interest of public, a bench of Justices N Kirubakaran and S S Sundar said.
It said teachers were like Gods but they cannot question every decision taken in public interest, especially for children belonging to weaker sections of the society.
The decision was taken to ensure that children of poorer sections were also given Montessori-based education at KG level in English medium free of cost, thereby avoiding the expenditure in private schools for such education, it said.
Counsel for the government said there was a surplus of SG teachers and hence, a decision was taken to utilise them for the Montessori education in the Anganwadis.
The bench pointed out that all contentions of the teachers such as a reduction in their rank from secondary grade to kindergarten and transfer from school education to social welfare department had been rejected by the government.
The government had submitted the SG teachers would be governed by the education department only, their seniority maintained and service conditions would not be disturbed.
Hence, the petitioners' apprehensions were not sustainable and by no stretch of imagination, would they be affected by the government's decision, the bench said.
The teachers should spend their knowledge and time only to educate, for which they are being paid by the government from the taxpayers' money, instead of wasting their time in approaching the court, it said.
One factor, which neither the government can deny nor the teachers can disown, is the lack of quality education in government schools, the bench said.
"This court supposes, but for lack of infrastructure and quality education, economically poor parents will not take the burden of admitting their children in private schools by spending huge amounts," the bench added.
The judges said it was open to the government to introduce a bridge course and give proper training to secondary grade teachers for six months and empower them to impart Montessori-based education in kindergarten schools.
They directed the government to start with the project at the earliest as the academic year starts from next month.
The petitioners had contended SG teachers cannot be directed to take classes for LKG/UKG as they do not have the required qualification as prescribed by the National Council for Teacher Education.
The state additional advocate general submitted that the government was compelled to introduce Montessori education in LK and UKG classes in Anganwadi centres following its demand from parents.
It was being introduced as a pilot project for three years and it would be continued further based on the outcome of the third-party evaluation.
Financial sanction of Rs 77.33 crore had been accorded annually to provide accessories to children and training of teachers.
Over 5,930 Secondary Grade Teachers in aided Primary and Middle Schools and 1,979 Secondary Grade Teachers in state-run schools are under surplus category, causing a huge financial loss to the government, the AAG added.