Teachers in Mumbai are still denied access to local trains to travel to their institutions in order to work on results evaluation.
Efficiency Of ‘Special Buses’
According to an ST bus timetable issued by the state education department on Sunday, they can purchase a ticket and display their ID cards to travel in ‘special buses’.
Teachers opine that the move is redundant since they already had access to buses which were not solving the problem of how to get to schools on time.
Govt Flip-Flopping On Issue
A few weeks ago, it was reported that teachers will finally be able to board local trains after much pleading and protests.
Soon after, the office of Deputy Director of Education had also started collecting passenger details to issue passes.
It seems now that none of it really materialised and teachers are still in a fix over the problem of timely commute.
Anil Bornare, vice-president of BJP Teachers’ Cell, said that despite making a show of collecting details to give out train passes, all the govt had to ultimately offer was a State Transport (ST) bus timetable.
He added that bus transport was already available, and that trains are the only way to reduce commute time.
Still No Solution
Teachers cannot stay at home and do the results work, so they have to go to schools to do so.
The whole process has been delayed so much that the timeline given for SSC result work is nearly over.
Rajesh Pandya from Teachers Democratic Front corroborated the details of the matter and said that road travel takes a long time due to traffic.
He questioned the govt as to how they are planning to compensate teachers for time lost on commute which could have gone towards their work instead.
Does It Help?
Local teachers have said that it takes about an hour to reach schools via train, and nearly 5 hours by road, all for just 2-3 hours of work.
They have criticised the govt for making a premature announcement of opening local trains for teachers when they were clearly not ready to do so.
Other inconsistencies include the lack of clarification on bus fares or when people can buy tickets.
Confusion Over Lockdown Phase
Sandip Sangave, Deputy Director of Education, said that the State Transport bus service is meant specially for teachers and school staff and a fare chart has been prepared for the same.
When asked about train access, he said that they were following instructions from higher authorities.
An official from the School Education Ministry explained that when teachers were promised local train access, a letter of request was sent to the Chief Minister’s Office and Railways.
In the letter, it was recommended that the govt grant local train access to teachers as per unlocking phase of Level 2.
However, Mumbai is still in Level 3 of lockdown restrictions, so there is a conflict with regards to the situation.
Meanwhile, teachers have been trying to compromise by traveling in trains without a ticket, driven to break the law due to the govt’s indecision.