Published: 16th May 2020
Are our teachers merely seen as work-dumps?
In between, there are election rolls to be updated, elections to be conducted and even children to be enticed to enrol in the schools if they have to safeguard their job
A good teacher, like a good entertainer, first must hold his audience’s attention, then he can teach his lesson
— John Henrik Clarke (1915- 1998), US writer and historian
A good teacher is hardly allowed to hold his audience’s attention, with all sorts of non-teaching chores dumped on her/him. Such teachers are commandeered to do sundry jobs like the forthcoming decennial population census. In between, there are election rolls to be updated, elections to be conducted and even children to be enticed to enrol in the schools if they have to safeguard their job. Last year, they were commandeered in Bihar to take photos of those who defecated in the open and post them on websites to shame the offenders — never mind if they had any alternative. To that extent, teachers have become work-dumps regardless of their main mission — taking undue advantage of their anxiety to retain their bread-ensuring jobs.
But even the worm turns. In the latest instance, in Karnataka, they are sought to be drafted for a COVID-19 combat team — which involves not only extra work, unrelated to teaching but also the risk of catching the highly contagious disease and passing it on to their family members.
Fortunately, not only the organisation of teachers but also, an erstwhile education minister of Karnataka has taken up the cudgels on their behalf as reflected in the following report in the media: Taking exception to only teachers being included in teams formed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, former Karnataka Minister Basavaraj Horatti has shot off a letter to the Chief Secretary in which he has drawn his attention towards the latter’s circular dated March 26 pertaining to constituting 100 primary teams to combat the spread of COVID-19. While welcoming the move to constitute the teams, Horatti has pointed out that as per the circular, there has to be one teacher in the primary team and two teachers in the secondary team.
“The question of why only teachers were being deployed to various government works was raised. Subsequently, we had taken a decision that apart from teachers, employees of various government departments should be deployed to such work. Subsequently, a letter was written to the Election Commission against deploying only teachers for election work. An order was then issued to utilise the services of employees of all departments for such work,” Horatti recalled in the letter. He said that teachers should not feel that they were being targeted while allotting such work.