Representational Image. Image Courtesy: The Hindu
New Delhi: Setting aside all norms set by the Allahabad High Court restricting teachers from being deployed for non-teaching work, a government school in Siddharthanagar district of Uttar Pradesh asked its 20 women teachers to dress up and help in the make-up of brides for an event to be held under the Chief Minister's Mass Wedding scheme on Tuesday.
The order was issued by a block education officer (BEO) at a government school in Naugarh town of Siddharthanagar. However, when the news spread on social media leading to widespread outrage, the directive was quickly withdrawn and later a probe was proposed against the BEO concerned.
The one-page order by Dhruv Prasad, BEO of Naugarh, listed the names of the 20 teachers, asking them to reach the venue of the wedding on Tuesday, January 28, by 9 a.m.
After the order received a social media backlash, Suryakant Tripathi, BEO of the district, cancelled the order with immediate effect. "An inquiry is being ordered, action will be taken against the official who passed such an order. It is not appropriate to assign any teacher for this work," Tripathi told NewsClick.
When asked if it was justified to deploy teaching staff for non-teaching work, especially during an acute scarcity of teachers at schools, Tripathi said: "Two-three teachers can give "assistance" at social gatherings for a couple of hours but keeping them engaged for the entire day would hamper the learning process. The school would get affected if they follow such order."
Ajay Mishra, a member of the Uttar Pradesh Primary Teachers Association, said: “This is not the first time that such order was passed. There have been several instances where teachers were assigned for non-teaching work. Teachers should be treated with honour and should not be asked to do work which is not part of their duty."
A teacher in Deoria district told NewsClick that teachers of government schools are always engaged for such jobs and the government should also be held accountable for the quality of education in government schools.
A government teacher in Lucknow seemed upset with the order. Pointing out the Allahabad High Court order not to engage government schoolteachers in non-academic work, she said: "The government is also violating the order of Allahabad High Court. The court has said that non-academic work should not be taken from teachers working in primary schools. The court has given directions to follow Section 27 of the Right to Education Act 2009 in this regard. Justice Sunit Kumar gave this order while hearing the petition of Madan Gopal of Bareilly and eight other assistant teachers."
"The advocate appearing for the petitioners said that the district administration petitioners are taking booth level officers and other non-academic works from the teachers, which is contrary to Section 27 of the Right to Education Act 2009. Section 27 states that the duty of any teacher will not be imposed in non-academic work except for national disaster, census and Lok Sabha and Assembly elections," the Allahabad High Court order read.
Incidentally, the incident has taken place in the constituency of the state's Basic Education Minister (state minister with independent charge) Satish Dwiwedi.