Hundreds of higher secondary school teachers in the city on Monday protested against the recent policy change made by Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB), Gandhinagar, wherein class VIII will be included in primary and class IX to XII will be in one unit under secondary section.
The teachers staged a dharna in front of the office of the district education officer (DEO) of the city. The same protests were reported in 25 other cities of the state.
The agitating teachers contend that the quality of education will go down at the secondary level as unqualified teachers will come in this category due to the change.
"They (the board) have not discussed the policies in detail with our education minister or with us. This is simply autocratic," said Jagdish Bhatt, president of the Gujarat State Higher Secondary Teacher's Federation (GSHSTF).
Bhatt said that by implementing the change, there will be administrative and expenditure problems for the government and the quality of education will be compromised. "Due to this change, the state government will have to spend an additional Rs102 crore as more 14,000 higher secondary school teachers will have to be recruited," he said.
However, the state education department rejected the claims of the teachers. Hasmukh Adhia, principal secretary of education department said that having class IX to class XII as one unit will involve only administrative changes and not academic ones.
"All the members are agreeing with the new policy, but GSHSTF is opposing it due to its vested interests. Till now, the workload of higher secondary school teachers was very little compared to secondary school ones," he said.
But Pankaj Patel, former president of GSHSTF, said that the teachers' protests are justified and that they have not left the students unattended in schools while protesting.
"We haven't allowed the students' studies to be affected because of our protest." The protesting teachers are also demanding recruitment of school teachers.