The UT education department has been swamped with applications for childcare leave (CCL) from female government school teachers. The two-year-old provision whereby teachers can avail of leave up to 730 days (two years) during their tenure to attend to their children’s needs has been giving school officials a hard time as they are already facing an acute staff shortage. With board and regular exams around the corner their problems have only been compounded.
“We’re receiving a large number of child care leave applications and we’re often in a quandary as to whom to grant or deny leave. Occasionally several teachers from the same school want to avail the leave, which makes our work more difficult,”said a department official.
The regulations on child care leave state they should not disrupt functioning of schools and hence it was the duty of the sanctioning authority to inform the higher-ups while recommending leave for teachers reporting to him.
Many school heads claimed they were left with little choice but to approve leave as almost every application was backed by a senior official.
At the Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 16, eight teachers are on CCL. “We’re constrained to grant them leave as per the rules even though we’re short-staffed,” the school’s principal, Anujit Kaur, said.
The principal of GMHS-34, where five teachers are on leave, said, “Teachers should make prudent use of this benefit, all the while being aware of their responsibility to their students.” At GHS, Sarangpur, two teachers have applied for CCL, while at GMSSS, Sector 10, three teachers have already taken it.
Harbir Singh Anand, principal of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 10, said, “Before approving leave we always ask teachers to give it in writing they would be available for exam duty.”