Over 55,000 junior college teachers in the state are threatening to boycott the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examination which is held in February-March, by refusing to go on supervision duties, check answer sheets or participate in any kind of exam-related work unless the government does not give in to their demands by January 10.
The Maharashtra Federation of Junior College Teachers has issued a notice to the state board and the education department, demanding that instead of testing students in a combined paper for science, the board should lighten the burden on the students by going back to the conventional two-paper pattern for subjects such as biology and chemistry. The federation has threatened to boycott the examination if their demands are not met.
Under the upgraded syllabus, the board has doubled the students’ study material, and clubbed together the two science papers into one single paper. “Students will get just one day to prepare for this vast subject. It would be easier if there were two papers instead of one. The state board is blindly copying the CBSE,” said Anil Deshmukh, the general secretary of the federation.
They are also demanding that practical exams should be conducted by external examiners and not teachers from the same college, as it leads to bias.
Apart from the syllabus, the teachers are also agitating for a revision in their pay structure. The three-tier payscale, which was implemented for these teachers in 2000, although it it was effective from January 1996. They want the government to change it accordingly to 1996 in retrospection. “For school teachers and other government servants, it was implemented in 1996. We want the same benefit, so that we get increments. We are not asking for arrears,” he added.
Besides this, the teachers want their 42 leaves to be restored from1999, when they were deducted since teachers went on a strike to implement the sixth pay commission. They also want the ‘permanently unaided’ tag to be removed from junior colleges, like it has been done for schools.
Also, they have asked the government to approve the nearly 1,168 teachers’ posts pending since 2008, as these teachers will not get salaries unless they get approvals.