BY VIVEK GUPTA
In August last year, Chandigarh’s DPI (schools) submitted an affidavit in the Punjab and Haryana High Court stating that all government school heads in UT had been ordered not to assign non-academic work to teachers at the cost of teaching hours. In February this year, the high court, while hearing a PIL, directed the department to take non-academic work away from teachers.
A year since the affidavit, however, information obtained under RTI shows that teachers are still doing the clerical work of maintaining the salary and attendance records of their colleagues. This, when government schools are short of teachers.
As per the RTI, two senior teachers of Government Model Senior Secondary School (GMSSS) at Karsan, Sanjeev Gupta and Dinesh Kumar, take only two classes a day, as against four to five by other teachers, because they do clerical work related to the central government’s Sarv Shikhsa Abhiyan. They are expected to maintain the salary record of contract teachers, disburse grants, maintain the building fund and funds under the Rashtriya Madhyamik Siksha Abhijan (RMSA).
Sanjeev is a science teacher and Dinesh Kumar is a maths teacher. The school had performed poorly in the class X and class XII board exams in the 2013-14 session. “The school has just one clerk, therefore, the heavy work of funds could not be transferred from teachers to clericial staff,” stated the school principal in his RTI reply.
The city’s top government school, GMSS-16, too has teachers doing work related to SSA and RMSA, because there is only one senior assistant (accountant) and the post of junior assistant is vacant. Here also, experienced teachers take only three periods every day because they have to do non-academic work.
GSSS-45 stated, in its reply, that it was forced to allot less teaching hours to teachers as the Education Department had not provided them with clerical staff for managing several funds. In reply to an RTI query, the principal of GMSSS-56 stated that it is a double shift school with 3,550 students and 88 teachers. It has only one accountant, but still it has been given financial powers of two other junior schools in the vicinity. The school has no alternative but to assign non-teaching work to teachers, said the school head.
At the Government High School, Hallomajra, TGT maths Kamlajeet Kaur is unable to take more than three classes a day despite 80 per cent of the students failing in maths and science in class IX in 2013-14 session. The RTI responses of other 10 schools also show that work of SSA, RMSA and building fund takes away a lot of teaching hours in the absence of adequate clerical staff.
Asked about it, Education Secretary Sarvjit Singh said that it was a serious matter and said that the administration would look into it.
Advocate Vishal Aggarwal, who had filed the PIL on which the high court passed an interim order in February, said, “If it still happens, it is clearly contempt of court which needs to be brought to the court’s notice,” he said.