Ahead of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections 2017, Class 10 teachers from Mumbai schools and junior colleges have demanded an exemption from poll duty as they will be busy with board exam-related work during that period.
Although teachers are exempted from non-academic work as per Right to Education Act, they have to do poll and census duties.
Teachers associations have pressed the panic button as schools started receiving letters from the election commission to send names of their teaching and non-teaching staff, over the last few days. They will be assigned duties based on these lists.
“Over 200 corporations are going to polls in the next few months and the work in spread in two or three phases. Human resources in large numbers are required for poll related work and teachers and non-teaching staff from schools are used for this,” said Anil Bornare, member of the Maharashtra school teachers association.
But with the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) and Secondary School Certificate (SSC) exams being held in February-March, teachers will be occupied with conducting practical exams and internal assessments from January itself. “This will leave no time for secondary teachers to do poll work, which usually includes a four-day long training before the polls and full day assignments on the poll day,” added Bornare
Another group, Teachers Democratic Federation is set to write to the election commissioner and SC Chandekar, divisional secretary of the Maharashtra state board soon. “If we don’t speak up now, then later it becomes impossible to get out of the poll-duty. We are asked to produce a substitute or often blankly refused even if we prove that we have academic work,” said Rajesh Pandya, member of the federation.