Hundreds of government school teachers in Jharkhand’s West Singbhum district are clicking selfies with toilets and submitting them to district authorities to prove they don’t defecate in the open.
District superintendent of education Nilam Alian Toppo said teachers were asked to submit a selfie as well as an undertaking that they used the toilet at their residence. Teachers are supposed to give toilet details including, measurement and selfie, she added.
Under the Centre’s Swachh Bharat campaign, Jharkhand aims to become open-defecation free by March. There are 2,205 primary and middle schools in the district.
“Other than around 500 para teachers in West Singhbhum district, all have submitted selfie with toilet. Rest of the para teachers are expected to submit their selfie within the time frame. The complete report will be submitted to the deputy commissioner within a couple of days”, Toppo said.
Chief secretary Rajbala Verma had recently sent letters to each district administration, saying that open defection by teachers could be a hurdle in meeting the March deadline.
District administrations were asked to prove if all teachers use toilet at home, sources from the Jamshedpur education department said.
“Para teachers would be terminated from the service while permanent teachers will face disciplinary action if they do not have toilet at their home,” said West Singbhum deputy commissioner Shantanu Kumar Agarhari.
Sambhu Sharan Srivastava, teacher at primary school in Horlor in Khuntpani block of the district lauded the initiative.
“Teachers are guide to the new generation; children and locals will be motivated to have toilet at home if teachers use it at their residences,” he said.
The selfie-with-toilet initiative, however, is exclusive to only West Singbhum district in Jharkhand. Teachers in other districts have not been asked to fulfil the compulsion of clicking selfies with toilet.
“The education department did not pass any such directive of clicking selfie-with-toilets. It must be a district level initiative since all the DCs were asked to take necessary steps at their level,” said Mukesh Kumar, director, Jharkhand Education Project Council (JEPC).
Meanwhile, teachers from other districts are opposed to the idea of constructing toilets with their own money.
“Disciplinary actions would be justified only if they give us money for construction of toilets,” said Vinod Tiwari, a teacher at Madhya Vidyalaya, Sahapur, Palamu.