Telangana teachers oppose early start order, cite unscientific approach

The working hours place an unequal burden on female teachers and association representatives said that students will also suffer due to this decision.
Image used for representation only.
Image used for representation only.

HYDERABAD: The Telangana government’s order to implement a common schedule across Gurukul schools and to start classes an hour early has met with opposition from teachers associations in the state, who have deemed it “unscientific”.

The new order says that schools will now start at 8 am, as opposed to the current time of 9 am, and will go on till 4.30 pm.

Association representatives said that students will also suffer due to this decision. Pointing out that most Gurukul schools lack basic facilities, they said that it is unrealistic to expect breakfast to be prepared by 7 am in every school.

As per Surender Rathod, who teaches at a Tribal Welfare Residential Junior College near Maheshwaram, there are only 20 bathrooms available in most institutions for a strength of around 500 students.

S Srijana, principal of BC Gurukulam in Medak, said that most residential schools do not have adequate play areas for students. “How can children stay inside four walls for long hours?” she asked. She pointed out that a classroom serves as the dining hall in her school.

As most residential schools are located in remote areas, the changes in the schedule will mean longer days for teachers. Rathod, who lives 63 km from his school, pointed out teachers also take turns to supervise the study hour between 7 and 9 pm and stay overnight at the Gurukul. “Except for a few older schools, most buildings do not have quarters and other basic facilities,” he said.

The working hours place an unequal burden on female teachers. “There are no transport facilities and no security when we have to travel at night,” said Srijana.

The Telangana State United Teachers’ Federation (TSUTF) demanded that the working hours, which are against the Right To Education Act, be revised taking into consideration the opinions of child psychologists, the Child Rights Commission, parents and teachers.

However, Tribal Welfare Department principal secretary Dr A Sharath told TNIE that there was no question of reconsidering the decision. He said that the department would implement the government order.

K Seetha Lakshmi, secretary of TGSWREIS, said that the decision was taken on the basis of parents’ requests.

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