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Scrutiny
  
No EC duty for teachers
The SC withdraws them from all non-teaching jobs
03/04/2008

Literacy rate of India is 61%, where the definition of literacy is – those of 15 years in age and over, who can read and write. The overwhelming majority of the ‘literates’ are not really educated. Expressing concern over this, the Supreme Court has directed Election Commission not to deploy school teachers on poll duty on school days and during teaching hours. The non-teaching staff however, can be deployed any time. This has been the ruling of a bench of Justices S. B. Sinha & Harjit Singh Bedi.

The Election Commission has assured to comply with the ruling, as far as possible. The bench delivered the ruling on a public interest lawsuit filed by St. Mary’s School and others challenging the government’s practice of drafting a large number of school teachers, especially those from government schools, on duties that were not connected to teaching. Tasks assigned to teachers include Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha elections, local body or Panchayat elections, even Gurudwara elections. It does not end here – the hapless school teachers are also made to work on revising electoral rolls, pulse polio drive, preparation of census list, surveys et al.

While education remains a fundamental right, major portion of the society is far from getting minimum quality education. A small survey on students of Delhi municipal schools revealed that mere 5.5% students have succeeded to appear in secondary examination. In such context, Supreme Court recent verdict may mitigate some of grevious concerns like unfinished academic courses, heavy drop -outs, poor results, and students’ inability to compete in open examinations. Along with that there is also an urgent need to fully utilise school teachers and motivate them through incentives, various training programmes, inter-state cooperation for faculty exchange programmes and the like.

By:- B&E
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