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Punjab education secy seeks suggestions on phone, gets flooded with transfer requests

Krishan Kumar, who has been interacting with heads of thousands of state-run schools across the state, asked them two months ago for suggestions to improve the quality and standard of school education in the state.

punjab Updated: Sep 18, 2017 09:28 IST
Navneet Sharma
Punjab school education secretary Krishan Kumar.
Punjab school education secretary Krishan Kumar.(Youtube )

Punjab school education secretary Krishan Kumar is a hands-on administrator who likes to connect directly with his workforce. Kumar, who has been interacting with heads of thousands of state-run schools across the state, asked them two months ago for suggestions to improve the quality and standard of school education in the state, sharing his mobile number.

“I shared my mobile number for information related to grievances or suggestions for improvement of school education. I surely did not give it for transfer requests. Do not send messages for transfer requests”

But he was soon flooded with messages, mostly transfer requests from teachers instead of any new and innovative ideas for betterment of education in the state. When the officer addressed the school principals through Edusat – a satellite based communication network set up in government schools – last week, he did some plain-speaking.

“I shared my mobile number for information related to grievances or suggestions for improvement of school education. I surely did not give it for transfer requests. Do not send messages for transfer requests,” the 1997-batch IAS officer told the district education officers and school heads during his two-hour-long address four days ago. This was his second address to them and other senior officials of the primary and secondary education departments were also present.

Prohibit teachers from using mobile phones

The IAS officer, who was posted as secretary of the department two-and-a-half months ago, also directed the school principals to strictly prohibit use of mobile phones by teachers in the classrooms. “Use of mobile phones by teachers in class is a violation of code of conduct. We are also devising a system to detect such misuse,” he warned.

Punjab has approximately one-lakh teachers in its schools, making teacher deployment, transfers and other administrative issues a humongous task. “The teachers want to work at convenient locations, closest to homes, and thousands of transfer requests have been received by the department in the past few months. The department has to grapple with these administrative issues and most of their time goes into this,” said a department official, requesting anonymity.

Learning enhancement programme

Kumar, while making a presentation on steps initiated to streamline functioning, told the district staff and school heads that their prime task was to improve the quality of education and learning levels among students by focusing on by focusing on learning enhancement programme.

Ensure proper evaluation of answer sheets

The school principals were also directed to ensure proper evaluation of exam papers, as the Punjab School Education Board has noticed instances of carelessness by teachers. The department has taken a serious view. He also said that a decision has been taken to install close-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in “sensitive” exam centres during the final exams next year.

Kumar took questions from the school heads and teachers at the end. When a school head drew attention towards the difficulties being faced by students in availing scholarships, he said that a dedicated helpline manned by trained people is being set up to deal with issues related to scholarships.