Housing, insurance for teachers on the anvil

Under the National Foundation for Teachers’ Welfare Scheme from the Human Resource Development Ministry, teachers in nearly 1.3 million elementary schools, 20,000 colleges and 500 universities will be entitled to these benefits.

The proposed scheme will come for discussion at a meeting of the Central Advisory Board of Education — which has  state education ministers among its members — on June 18 and 19, a HRD Ministry official said. Now, the Central Health Scheme covers most Union  government employees.

However, the proposed scheme will provide insurance cover to all teachers, including those appointed by state governments.

The scheme also envisages provision of housing facility to each teacher in the country.
Teachers in reputable institutions are already covered under such schemes.

However, teachers in the rural areas are deprived of such welfare measures. Recently, a high-power committee was appointed by the HRD Ministry to look into the issue of housing for women teachers.

The committee, after taking into consideration the magnitude and various dimensions of the problem and also the efforts made in the past, has concluded that no single formulation can  appropriately redress the problem of housing facilities — which varied from region to region and in many cases from school to school — for women teachers.

“What is required is to adopt a multi-pronged approach involving different solutions in accordance with needs and requirements of different areas,” its report said.

Since teacher absenteeism wreaks havoc on education in the rural areas, the committee has recommended that teachers wishing to be posted to a particular village should, as a matter of course and on a long-term basis, be posted in schools located in such villages unless this is not desirable in public interest.

With such a policy, it is presumed that teachers may opt for serving in the villages they come from or where they otherwise have interests such as property and relations, among others. In all such cases, teachers may serve willingly, without   facing any  housing problem.

If implemented on a nationwide scale, this policy may substantially reduce the problem of housing for the rural teachers. The panel also suggested that in the rural areas cluster approach should be followed as experience has shown that separate quarters for women teachers are not preferred due to lack of security and other services.

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