A teachers’ collective has written to Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia against an order making purchase of tabs by Delhi government school teachers mandatory.
Last month, an education department circular ordered all government school teachers to purchase a tab — to be reimbursed by the department — and submit a bill by January 15, failing which “action as deemed fit will be initiated against defaulting teachers”.
A collective called Lok Shikshak Manch has now written to Sisodia questioning the technological tool.
Stating that compulsorily enforcing the use of a tab is different from teachers using laptops and computers at their convenience, they wrote: “As long as we teachers are free to use these tools as per our academic need and professional understanding, these instruments are of aid to us. However, if their use is fixed in a preconceived manner and made compulsory, this relationship will be reversed, and we will be turned into agents serving these instruments.”
They also asked if enforcement of devices like tabs is based on pedagogical research, and stated that making anything mandatory must have concrete reasons.
“Since technological tools such as tabs are capable of bringing fundamental changes in the character of education and teaching, we would like to know the academic and policy documents on the basis of which this decision has been made,” the letter states, adding that “we teachers are intellectual beings and not mechanical executioners of orders.”
The letter also states that digitisation and e-governance has in fact increased work load in schools, and is duplicating labour.
According to department instructions, teachers need to mark attendance on tabs. Stating that data entry already happens on school computers, the collective has questioned why money is being spent on additional devices.
Teachers have also questioned the “flooding of schools with technological tools under the pretext of development”, suggesting that it could “produce a false sense of quality, but will distract teaching from intellectual depth and autonomy and lead students to equate mechanisation with quality”.
In response to these concerns, Sisodia told The Indian Express, “If we have to prepare our next generations for the future, how can we avoid teaching them technology, and through technology? Moreover, tablets are to help them…”