Social Scientist. v 5, no. 51 (Oct 1976) p. 60.

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Teacher and the Local Boss

P M Bora

PANCHAYATI RAJ was inaugurated in Maharashtra on May Day 1962. It has now been in existence for more than fourteen years. The Maharashtra pattern of Panchayati Raj has distinct features! one of which is the generous decentralization of functions. The list of subjects devoluted to the zilla parishads and panchayat samitis in Maharashtra is more exhaustive than originally recommended by the Mehta Committee.2 This functional decentralization has raised problems of decision-making and administration. One of the most controversial areas is education,

the administration of which upto secondary level is vested in Panchayati Raj bodies.8

Panchayati Raj control over primary and secondary education inevitably meant the introduction of politics into school administration. The new elite in local government could hardly resist the temptation to turn power to their own advantage., especially when it comes to patronage in teachers' appointment, promotion and transfer, school management and inspection, pupils' admission and pass to the next higher forms. To the school functionaries all these amounted to ^political interference" resulting in corrupt and inefficient administration on which complaints began to be heard.4 Views, appearing in official and non-official publica-ions and the press, of concerned individuals and organizations have concurred that there is a good deal of interference in education; that administration of schools has become inept and corrupt; and that a rethinking is urgently needed to correct mistakes and stop the decline in educational standards.5

Teachers occupy the centre of the education system. What they think of the impact of zilla parishad control has a direct bearing on the ^democratic decentralization" that has taken place. A survey of the nature and extent of political interference as seen by teachers was conducted in one of the districts of Maharashtra.e This is a report on its findings. The survey's main objective was to gauge teachers in zilla parishad schools for opinions regarding (i) nature and extent of ^political interference" in their work; (ii) reasons for their helplessness before local

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