Annual exams may be affected due to deployment of teachers on poll duty: Principals
Around 3,000 teachers from BMC schools and 1,500 teachers from private schools in Mumbai have been notified that they will be deployed for election duties. This has raised concerns among principals and management, as board exams are approaching. The teachers' union has written a letter urging the election officer to postpone the deployment until after the exams. Some teachers have threatened to boycott the election work.
Mumbai: As many as 3,000 teachers from across Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) schools and 1,500 teachers from private schools were notified on Saturday that they will be deployed for election duties from Sunday morning. The sudden directive has raised concerns among school principals and management, especially when the Class 10 board exams are slated for March 1, followed by the school’s annual examinations.
The teachers’ union has penned a letter to the election officer, urging to postpone the deployment of teachers for election duties after the examinations. The dates of the elections are yet to be announced and teachers are receiving letters from the education officer to join for the election duties.
Girish Samant, chairman, of Shikshan Mandal, Goregaon raised the concern about this stating, “It is very wrong and detrimental to the education of the students to engage the teachers in election work when the Class 10 board and school annual examinations are nearing.” Samant also said what the government is doing is not legal. An education officer sent a letter to the teachers on their WhatsApp groups. “It is not legal to send orders or directives to appoint staff by sending messages on WhatsApp group of principals and such messages are not binding,” he added.
Samant also stated that the employees of private organisations can be engaged for election work only under the provisions of the Representation of People Act, 1950 or the Representation of People Act, 1951. “The letter sent to the teachers does not refer to any of the acts under which the private employer needs to join this duty,” Samant added.
The principal of the south Mumbai-based school highlighted the issues with the exam management. “Schools’ annual exams are usually planned two months in advance, as papers have to be set and the necessary arrangements have to be made. Now some of my teachers are appointed for election duty. It is a very difficult task for principals to manage classes as well as the board examinations too,” She added.
Anil Bornare, teacher leader and member of the executive committee of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) warned that teachers will boycott the election work. Bornare said, “Under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, teachers are allowed three assignments, including census, disasters and poll duties. However, some teachers are assigned as ‘Block level officers’ (BLO) and other preparatory work for the elections. Due to this academic schedule, the schools were disturbed. I request the government and election commission to consider this and spare all the teachers from the election duty, especially during board examinations.”