Rohit, a Class 10 student who aims to join the Army, tried to study English all by himself throughout the year, but could not manage to clear the subject in the boards held this year. He was left to fend for himself as the English teacher did not turn up to teach his class the whole year.
In the end, as many as seven students out of 21 studying in Class 10 at Government Senior Secondary School Koti in Panchkula’s Morni, flunked in English, while a majority of the remaining students just managed to get pass marks.
The low grades of these students in the subject are being squarely attributed to the absence of their English teacher, who was at the service of the chairman of Haryana Gau Seva Aayog, working as his private secretary.
Despite the teacher’s deputation to the ‘special post’ getting cancelled on December 19, 2019, he continued to work as the private secretary, even as the students struggled.
Rohit, who failed to clear the English exam, said, “I put in a lot of hard work, but could not pass the exam. My parents also visited the school and pointed out that there was no teacher, but the school authorities expressed helplessness.
So, I tried to study myself. English is important in every field. With weak English, I do not know if I will be able to realise my dreams. ”
Documents accessed by The Indian Express revealed that the school authorities and the Education Department kept writing to the Aayog and the government to send the teacher back to teach English in school as the boards approached, but all in vain. The teacher, Dayanand Sharma, who was tasked to teach students from Class 9 to 12, kept drawing his salary of Rs 1 lakh every month from the school in Morni till December last year, but didn’t come to the school to teach even once.
“We were in a fix. We sent several reminders. I also wrote to the head office about the need for the teacher, especially as the exams were approaching and children had no one to teach the subject,” said Principal Pawan Jain.
He added, “In December 2019, when the teacher’s deputation got cancelled, he still did not return to the school for teaching the students.”
As the boards were approaching, the school’s Biology teacher was requested to take English classes for the students. When things got difficult, an English teacher from District Institute of Education and Training (DIET), Panchkula was called to conduct classes who went only for seven days in January to teach the kids.
The Class 10 exam in the Haryana School Education Board is 20 marks internal assessment, and 80 marks written board exam. The overall passing score is 33 out of 100, but the students must score 27out 80 in the written exam.
According to the analysis of the results of English subject, as many as nine students secured 27 or 29 marks out of 80, just managing to pass, while other five got a score in 30s. In fact, had it not been for good internal assessment scores, many more would have failed to cross the 33 out 100 pass score.
When contacted, the teacher, Dayanand Sharma, said, “The Education Department has been sent a communication in writing about my extension by the chairman and the documents must be in transit and will reach the department soon.
On being questioned about what work does he undertake as the private secretary, while the students from Class 9 to 12 suffered, Sharma said, “There is a lot of work when you work with a person holding a political post. You have to write files, communiques and what not.”
Speaking to The Indian Express, District Education Officer (DEO) Urmil Rohilla said that she wrote to the head office too to get the teacher back.
“We tried really hard. I too wrote to the seniors but nothing was effective. I verbally also called the teacher to tell him if at least three days he could go to the school and two days he could work with the chairman, but he didn’t come at all,” she said.
When asked why no other teacher could be posted there, she said, “A teacher is posted against a vacant post, and this teacher had gone on deputation. I could not send someone on deputation there against deputation. Moreover, who will go at this rough station without proper posting.”
Post December, the teacher’s salary was withheld, but even then he did not return.
In 2017, there were two English teacher posts in this school. In December 2017, of the two teachers, Sharma joined as a private secretary and only one teacher taught the students. However, Sharma kept drawing his salary of Rs 1 lakh (gross) every month from the school without even teaching the kids. Further, the only English teacher who taught the students got transferred in August 2019 and the students were again left to their fate.
Since then, the school authorities began writing to authorities to bring back Sharma, as students were suffering and board examination was nearing.
“I do not know what to tell the parents. There is no English teacher and each one of us have tried our best,” the Principal said.
In September last year, even the parents had arranged a vehicle and travelled from Morni to Panchkula to visit the office of Director Education. They had submitted a request to arrange an English teacher, but it did not change the situation on the ground.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Haryana Gau Seva Aayog, Bhani Ram Mangla, told The Indian Express, “Mujhe angrezi nahi aati isliye padha likha private secretary maanga…kaam mein boht gati aa gayi ab….(I don’t know English that’s why I sought an educated private secretary. Since then, work has really seen progress.”
When asked if he was entitled to keep a working lecturer drawing Rs 1 lakh a month from government as private secretary even as students future was put at stake, he said, “I asked the government for a private secretary and they gave it to me. I didn’t know that students didn’t have any other teacher at all and results were bad.”
Mangla was asked if he particularly asked for this lecturer, he said, “Yes, I asked for him as PS since he is educated and knows English.”