Tightening the noose around the practice among schoolteachers of taking leave over the mobile phone, the state education department has directed district education authorities and school principals to stop allowing such leaves with immediate effect.
The department has also made it mandatory for the managements of government schools to disallow more than 20% teachers of a particular school from going on leave together. The director general of school education (DGSE), Kahan Singh Pannu, said the decision was taken as it was found in a recent inspection drive in state government schools that teachers had availed leave through intimation over mobile phone. He said the teachers did not submit any leave application or inform their bosses before availing the leave.
In his communiqués to district education officers and school principals, DGSE Pannu said that while inspecting a government school in Sangrur district, it came to notice that three teachers had availed leave on the same day after informing the school's gardener over the phone. "Such indiscipline was not only prevailing in schools in Sangrur district, but also in most government schools across the state. Moreover, school principals failed to take note of such malpractices and used to sanction leave availed through a phone call or text message," Pannu said.
He blamed this trend for more absentee teachers. "Because all of them took leave over the phone, there were fewer teachers coming to work on the same day. This had a domino effect on the studies of students. In such conditions, extra burden was being put on teachers who came to work," he said.
In his letter, the DGSE has instructed teachers and other employees in government schools to submit leave applications a day before they go on leave, though there is an exception for emergencies: "In case of an emergency, teachers can only make calls or send text messages to school principals before school hours in the morning. It will be mandatory for schools to maintain separate registers, especially to keep record of leaves over the phone."
On the decision not to allow more than 20% teachers of a school to go leave, Pannu said: "The studies should not suffer if teachers go on leave."