Following discouraging results in the summative assessment-I and shortage of teachers in Delhi government schools, teachers of classes IX to XII will not be granted leave till February 28 next year, according to a circular issued by the Directorate of Education (DoE). Teachers, meanwhile, have demanded that the order be withdrawn. The circular, issued earlier this month, said: “This is a crucial period for focusing on academic teaching and learning… In the light of the already existing shortage of teachers, no teacher teaching in Classes IX to XII is to be granted leave.” There are about 17,000 teacher posts lying vacant in 1,100 schools. The circular added that leave for medical emergencies will be referred to the medical board. In cases of “extreme circumstances”, leave has to be approved by the district education office.
Describing it as a challenging year for the DoE — with Class IX students having to study the entire year’s syllabus and Class X students giving the board exams — the circular said “basic minimum discipline has to be maintained in schools”. Ajay Veer Yadav of the Government School Teachers’ Association (GSTA) said: “It is clear that failure in recruiting adequate teaching staff is the root cause of all problems. The rules show lack of confidence and good faith… It is also important to note that the coming months will see a lot of festivals and weddings.” Another teacher organisation, Adhyapak Shakti Manch, termed the order a “situation of emergency”.
Teachers have also been ordered to get to school five minutes early. “If anyone is found coming late thrice, then one casual leave will be deducted,” the order said. Apart from this, the circular directed teachers to assign homework daily, provide ample writing practices conduct and school-level unit tests every Wednesday. The class teacher will be held accountable for low attendance of students and attendance will also have to be taken thrice a day. If any teacher refuses to hold extra classes for weak students, action will be taken against them, the circular added. For heads of schools, the rules are even tougher — they have been asked to get to school 15 minutes early.
Stating “truancy of students” as a big issue, the circular said any principal who is unable to check this is “not fit to be an administrative leader, and appropriate disciplinary action will be initiated”. The circular states, “If heads of schools fail to initiate action against non-performing teachers, it will be assumed there is either collusion or dereliction of duty…” To check if the orders are being followed, district education officers will inspect one school per day or at least four schools per week.