Following an unusual students’ protest at a government high school in Tiruvallur, north of Chennai, the school education department had to delay the transfer of an English teacher by 10 days.
On Wednesday afternoon, more than 100 students from various classes of Government High School in Veliagaram launched a protest and virtually held the teacher hostage after learning that he was transferred to another school in the region.
G Bhagawan, 28, was one of two English teachers in the school. When the transfer orders came as part of a routine redeployment of staff to maintain the teacher-student ratio in government schools, those who got transferred were the two juniormost teachers who taught English, including Bhagawan.
“Bhagawan was teaching English from 6th to 10th standard. Transfer orders came on Tuesday. Another teacher came to the school on Wednesday at 9 am, completed procedures and left to join the new school before 10am. But Bhagawan, who got delayed in the process, was stopped by students,” said principal A Aravindan.
“Students had also informed their parents about the transfer of both English teachers. So they reached the school, leading to dramatic events,” said Aravindan, adding that Bhagawan was one of the best teachers in his school.
As students and parents joined to stop him, and staff witnessed the emotional scenes, Aravindan informed his higher-ups. “I was told to wait for 10 days to execute the transfer order. Parents are realising that it is part of the usual process,” Aravindan said.
Local MLA P M Narasimhan was also contacted by the Parents and Teachers’ Association (PTA), seeking his help to cancel the transfer order. “Narasimhan seems to have convinced PTA members about the necessity of this transfer. I told Bhagawan that he can regain this trust and affection from his new school too,” Aravindan said.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Bhagawan said his colleague who got transferred had left before him. “I was stopped by students when I stepped out of the office. They took away my scooter key first. Then they snatched my bag, crying and shouting loudly. Then they literally dragged me to the classroom. I earned not only my salary but their love and affection too,” Bhagawan said.
Bhagawan, who hails from a town 10 km away, had chosen his new posting location through teachers’ transfer counselling. “I have to go, but this experience taught me a great lesson and instills hope in my profession,” he said.