BENGALURU: The State Election Commission (SEC) has issued orders to about 40,000 government teachers to go on pre-election duties for the assembly polls scheduled in early 2018.
The decision to involve teachers’ community in poll-related duties at a time when they will be burdened with academic and examination-related works, however, has not gone down well with them.
A memorandum has been submitted to the State Primary and Secondary Education Minister Tanveer Sait and the Principal Secretary of State Primary and Secondary Education Department in this regard. Teachers have urged them to keep them away from non-academic and poll-related duties so that they can focus on the teaching, examinations and evaluation works.
As per SEC orders, teachers have to be on poll duty till the end of January. Earlier, the pre-election groundwork used to be for one month, but this time the same has been increased to 60 days. The SEC has already conducted one round of training for teachers.
Karnataka State High School Assistant Teachers Association president HK Manjunath told The New Indian Express, “We have requested the Minister and Principal Secretary to relieve us from election duty. December, January and February are very important months for us as we need to analyse the students’ learning outcomes ahead of the exams scheduled in March/April.”
The SEC has issued orders to the teachers — both at primary and high school levels — to work as Booth-Level Officers (BLO) for the upcoming assembly polls. And as many as 40,000 teachers have been asked to complete the ‘revision of voters’ list’ by visiting each house at the booth level.
“Every teacher is under pressure to help students get the best results in Class 10 exams. We have been asked to conduct special classes and group studies. Amid all this, how can we do additional work of preparing voters’ list or revising it by going door-to-door?,” asked Manjunath.
Teachers who underwent the first round of training are already visiting houses assigned to them at the cost of academic works. “We leave home early in the morning and return late in the night. We hope the government will understand our plight and relieve us from poll duty,” said Manjunath.
Against govt order
In 2008, state government had issued an order directing not to involve teachers in election work or any other non-academic work. Despite the government order, teachers have been deputed to do non academic work.
Teachers counting toilets too
Zilla Panchayaths in North Karnataka region have asked teachers to count toilets as well! As a part of Swachh Bharat, ZPs are making a list of houses which do not have toilets, and teachers are being deputed for it.