It is not an easy time for teachers in the state as over one lakh of those who were deputed for election duty on Thursday will get just a day’s break before having to report for evaluation work on Saturday.
A majority of high school and college lecturers on election duty have to evaluate Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SSLC) exam papers and second year PU answer scripts.
Chandrakala Poojar, a high school teacher from Bangalore North who was deputed for poll duty in Bangalore South, told Express: “Once we are through the election work, we need to appear for evaluation work of the SSLC examinations. We can’t neglect either job as both are equally important.” She said the Election Commission should have exempted from poll duty those who have deputed for evaluation work. “If we don’t get good sleep and rest, it won’t be easy to concentrate on evaluation and serve justice to students,” she said.
The Commission chooses only teachers /lecturers working in government and aided institutions for election duty.
This year, the Pre-University Education Department is using 19,500 lecturers for evaluation work and the Karnataka Secondary Education Evaluation Board (KSEEB) 63,000 high school teachers. A good number of them were manning polling booths on Thursday.
“Though our responsibility ends in the evening on polling day, the pressure we undergo during the day can’t be explained. People many not believe this but we don’t even have basic facilities at some of the polling stations,” said Lohith, another teacher.
Manjunath, president of Karnataka High School Assistant Masters’ Association, said election duty appears easier than it is. “We need to handle different roles and responsibilities, starting from looking after the electronic voting machines till they are locked in the strong room. Of course, the remuneration has been increased this time, but who will give back our holidays?”
According to Education Department rules, there are two categories of jobs - vocational and non-vocational. All teachers fall in the vocational category and they have 80 days of holiday a year, including Dasara and summer breaks. “But will the department allow us to use the 80 days of vacation? Instead, we will be deputed on various works and asked to undergo training. We too need to spend time with family. We too have personal life,” Manjunath said. He said the association has decided to request the state government to bring teachers under the non-vocational category as well.
However, PUE officials said 75 per cent of the evaluation work in the state has already been completed and it is pending only in Bangalore. “Apart from Bangalore, evaluation work at all the centres has been completed. In city centres, evaluation of accountancy, business studies and English answer sheets are pending,” said Narasimha Nayak, the department’s joint director.