April 4, 2021 8:29:13 pm
A show-cause notice has been issued to a government primary school teacher for purportedly questioning a decision of the state education department and terming it ‘Tughlaki’ in a social media post on April 2.
The Director Primary Education’s office on Saturday issued the notice under the Gujarat State Service (Conduct) Rules, 1971, to Vijay S Chaudhary, a teacher at government-run Vallabhnagar Primary School at Radhanpur in Patan district. The 1971 rule states no employee can criticise a government policy.
“Despite this, you made a comment criticising the government on Facebook’s Atmanirbhar Shikshak group on April 2. For this, why a disciplinary action should not be taken against you? For this, you have to be present in person for an explanation on April 12 to this office, else it would be considered that you do not want to say anything on this and one-sided decision will be taken,” the show-cause notice, issued by the Joint Director Primary Education, states. The Indian Express has accessed a copy of the notice.
Director Primary Education Officer M I Joshi said, “The teacher has been issued a show-cause notice as he had made an inappropriate comment on one of the (education department) official’s post, which is uncalled for.”
The post allegedly refers to the state education department’s decision on the timings of government primary schools from 10.30 am to 5 pm. “Why is it that officers show authority only in front of teachers and keep mum before the class 4-pass ministers and MLAs. Officers need to tell the government to withdraw some of its Tughlakhi (whimsical) decisions. And as far as children are concerned, they (officers) don’t seem even the slightest worried about the children. Their only concern seems to what new to introduce in the online working and how to keep the children away from the teachers. The teachers would be more worried about the children than they are,” Chaudhary stated in the post in Gujarati.
When contacted, Chaudhary told The Indian Express, “I have not posted anything against the government.”
The teacher purportedly also tagged senior superintendent and administrative officer of the education department Paresh Dalsaniya in the social media post.
Dalsaniya told The Indian Express, “I had only posted in continuation of director primary education officer’s (M I Joshi) post of following our duty in the interest of students. Calling government decisions Tughlaki where the rules clearly state that government servants cannot speak or write against government orders certainly invites disciplinary action. This is important to bring in some discipline in the service.”
Chaudhary has been called for a personal hearing by the taluka primary education officer (TPEO) of Radhanpur, Bhikhabhai Patel, on Monday. “I have not seen his post. As directed by the education department, I have called the teacher for a personal hearing with a copy of his post he had made,” Patel said.
Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi has questioned the show-cause notice. “This is taking away freedom of a citizen to speak and completely eliminating democracy,” he said.
For years now, schools have switched to morning shift (from 7.30 am to 12.30 pm) from April 1, but this time they continued to operate in the afternoon (from 10.30 am to 5 pm) on April 1 and 3 — the first two working days of the month. In absence of a communication or directive from the education department, teachers for last three days had started demanding a change in the school hours.
“We were to issue an order for the morning shift in a day or two, since it requires cabinet approval. Also, till that time, it was considered to be in favour of students, as they get an additional teaching hour in the afternoon shift (and it would help) to make up for the losses during the closure of schools amid Covid-19 pandemic,” Dalsaniya said.
Meanwhile, the state government on Saturday issued a notice to close schools for classes 1-9 across the state from April 5 indefinitely in view of the rising coronavirus cases. On March 18, the state education department had ordered schools to close down in eight municipal corporations.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.