Published: 19th October 2019
Why force teachers to do unrelated multi-tasks rather than just being educators?
Last year, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights in a report had highlighted how the involvement of teachers in non-teaching activities was affecting the quality of education
Teachers are misused like ‘yoyos’ — tossed about beyond their main responsibilities, often at the cost of their primary duties. Last year, teachers in one state were ordered to rise early, go to open spaces near slums, shoot photos of people defecating in the open and upload them on social media. The resulting public outrage killed the idea in its infancy.
There are other diversions for teachers as well. They are commandeered by governments to carry out periodic census work, which is done once in ten years. But they are also called upon for helping with sundry surveys and elections or election rolls. Against this background, something is being planned to rescue teachers and restore to them their legitimate noble mission — to teach.
With school teachers spending most of their time in election-related duties, the Central Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry has stepped in to ensure that their poll-related responsibilities are significantly cut down so that their core work of teaching remains unaffected. It has asked District Collectors across the country to consider deploying the government school teachers only in the main polling process. These teachers are deployed to serve as booth-level officers (BLOs). “Participation of teachers in the main election process is not an issue. Nobody is against it. The problem is that they have to spend three-four months while serving as the BLOs. We are asking the collectors to consider deploying government employees as BLOs from other departments,” an HRD ministry official stated.
Last year, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights in a report had highlighted how the involvement of teachers in non-teaching activities was affecting the quality of education in government schools. In its report titled, Involvement of Teachers in Non-teaching Activities and its Effect on Education, the rights body had noted that teachers who were covered under the study had spent 81 per cent of their time while serving as the BLO in an election year.
“Since considerable academic time was lost during the elections, the provision of minimum 220 academic days as per the Right to Education (RTE) Act 2009 remained unfulfilled,” the report said.