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Poll training for teachers hits schools hard

Schools say academic activities suffering as 90% of teaching staff busy undergoing training ordered by State Election Commission

Schools are disappointed with the decision of the State Election Commission (SEC) to send their teachers for election training before the upcoming civic polls. The schools claim that more than 90 per cent of their teaching staff is undergoing the two-day training and it is affecting their students at a time when the current academic session is nearing completion. 


Orders are orders: A training session in progress for election staff. 
For the training ordered by the State Election Commission, teachers 
have to be away from school for two days. File pic

Schools say other things like Census duty have already disturbed the academic schedule. "Almost all the teachers are on training so they are hardly getting time to take classes," NMV Girls' High School Headmistress Madhura Kulkarni said. "Teachers were also sent for Census work in the last week, which has already affected studies." 

Kulkarni said she had to assign group activities to students to keep them engaged in the absence of teachers.
For students of New English School, it is an unofficial holiday when their teachers are on election training or on Census work.

"On Monday, except a handful of teachers, all the teaching staff was on training, which compelled us to declare a school holiday," New English School Principal S B Mundhe said. "The next training will be on Friday, and once again we have to declare holiday." 

Mundhe said he had no option but to send the staff for training even though it affected the students as the school had received directives from the SEC to file criminal complaints against teachers if they refused to undergo the training.  

Earlier, the SEC had issued a notification that all teachers in the state selected for the upcoming civic and HSC exam duty will be exempted from poll duty. "We have not yet received any kind of written notification in this regard from SEC," Pune Junior College Teachers' Association president Santosh Fasge said. 

Fasge, who teaches English in a junior college in the city, said his schedule had also been affected because of the election training. "I have to postpone the viva of students as the dates were clashing with the election training," Fasge said.

Pravin Ashtikar, who is in charge of the Pune Municipal Corporation election department, said "All state government employees have to participate in the upcoming election procedure and teachers are not exempt. It is mandatory to take part in the democratic process when needed," Ashtikar said. He said citizens should not complain about the time and effort that they have to spare when it came to disasters and elections. 

What teachers get trained in
>> Ballot handling 
>> Sealing of ballots 
>> Counting and other details 
>> Usage of theatrical presentation with the election material 

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