The recently issued circular by the state election commission is sure to put a smile on the faces of teaching and non-teaching staff, who have been gearing up for election duty in October.

As per the notice, which was issued last week, only 30% of staff members from an educational institute will be assigned election duty hereafter. “We had brought the issue to the notice of the state government and the election commission, especially after the problems teachers faced during the Lok Sabha elections in April.

Many schools had to postpone exams as the entire teaching and non-teaching staff was on election duty,” said Anil Deshmukh, secretary, Maharashtra State Federation of Teachers. Deshmukh added that their association had recommended that not more than 30% of staff from every educational institute should be deployed for election duty.

New guidelines
“The circular also states that teachers with health issues should be exempted from poll duty, if they can provide appropriate certificates from a government hospital,” Deshmukh said. The circular has also directed that teachers deputed for HSC and SSC examinations in October-November, must be exempted from poll duty.

During LS elections, a few schools had to take permission from the election commission to exempt few teachers from duty so that they could attend to SSC students who were preparing for practical exams in their respective schools.

Teacher speak
The teaching and non-teaching staff have welcomed the new guidelines. “We’ve been waiting for this circular for years. Every time, during election season, we end up being burdened with extra work.

Poll duty not only includes the work we do on the day of election, but also the training period before the polls. This is a time-consuming process,” said Prakash Sheth, a secondary school teacher.