Multitasking — work related to census, elections and Pulse Polio campaigns — seems to pass for teaching in Delhi. But the latest demand from the Delhi Directorate of Education has had the government school teachers fuming.
The ever-shrinking teaching hours notwithstanding, answering queries under the Right to Information Act (RTI) now appears to be a part of a teacher’s duty. Earlier this month, the directorate forwarded a copy of an RTI application they received to government schools.
The application asked for a decade’s worth of data regarding enrollment, pass percentage, the number of students scoring above 60%, the number of reserved category students and their academic performance.
This, however, is part of the very information the schools have to feed into the database of directorate every term. Which means the information is with the directorate already.
The schools, however, have been asked to send all details to the applicant directly. For the last 10 days, classes have been suffering, as the teachers have been busy collating the data.
“Tasks unrelated to studies are heaped upon us and then we are asked why the results are suffering,” said a teacher from a government school in south Delhi who refused to be named. The Directorate of Education has put a strict gag order on principals and teachers. “When we submit this data to the directorate every term, why can’t they send the reply themselves?” the teacher demanded.
“I received calls from colleagues from other government schools, complaining about the attitude of the directorate,” said an irate principal of a government school in Janakpuri. “When the computerisation of records was introduced, we thought our burden would be reduced, but we have to do double the work now. First feed the data into computers and then supply the same as and when asked.”
The RTI applicant is confused as well. “I did not ask schools to send me the data, I had asked the department,” said Bhushan, a retired government official. “I received a lot of calls from teachers across the city, asking why I need this information.”
Education minister Arvinder Singh was not available for comment.