Scale down deployment of teachers on Covid-19 duty: Manish Sisodia
As schools in the national capital reopened for class 10 and 12 students on Monday, Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia directed chief secretary Vijay Dev to issue an order to reduce the number of government school teachers deployed on Covid-19 duties to ensure teachers are re-engaged in academic work.
Sisodia, who also holds the education portfolio, asked the chief secretary to issue the necessary directions to all district magistrates.
“It has been brought to my notice that about 20,000-25,000 teachers are currently posted with district authorities for Covid-related duties. Considering the importance of education and the present status of the Covid situation in Delhi, district authorities to substantially scale down the present level of deployment and direct the teachers to report back to schools for their regular duties,” Sisodia directed in a note on Monday.
On January 15, HT had reported that several government schools in the capital raised concerns over staff shortage ahead of the school reopening for students of classes 10 and 12.
Since the lockdown in March last year, government teachers had been engaged in several Covid-19 duties including door-to-door surveys, vaccination drive, and identification of travellers from abroad at the airport. Last week, the government also relieved teachers from field duties related to the prevention of avian influenza (bird flu) in Delhi.
“Due to the unprecedented once-in-a-lifetime nature of the pandemic, it was the collective responsibility of every official of the Government of NCT of Delhi, including teachers of Delhi to perform emergency Covid-related duties,” Sisodia said. “However, considering the upcoming board examinations, the Delhi government has decided to commence special classes including practical examination, pre-board examinations for class 10 and 12 students from Monday,” he said.
Raja Ram Singh, head of a government school in Sangam Vihar, said, “Around 15 teachers from our school are currently deployed on Covid-19 duties and most of them are those who teach class 10 subjects. These are some of our best teachers who can help students to prepare for boards. If the government relieves these teachers from Covid-19 duties, it will help teachers in focusing solely on academics of board students.”
The education minister also said, “Going forward discretion is necessary in summoning the services of the teachers so that education activities, which the teachers are originally mandated to discharge, are not seriously disrupted.”
The Delhi government has also stated that teachers will only be used for Covid-related duties after district authorities submit requirements to the Directorate of Education and they cannot “summon teachers by name”.