Decision was taken after a delegation of junior college teachers approached state election commission and Mumbai civic body with their grievances recently
All the teachers in the state selected for the upcoming SSC and HSC exam duty will be exempted from poll duty for the civic elections salted for February 16, stated a letter issued by the State Election Commission (SEC) and BMC authorities on Saturday. The BMC is a second decision-making body after the SEC to take a call on issues related to civic polls in the state.
Chand Goyal, additional chief secretary, SEC and Aseem Gupta, additional municipal commissioner, BMC, collectively took the decision after a delegation of junior college teachers approached them with their grievances last week. However, the Pune Junior College Teachers' Association (PUCTU) is yet to receive a notification from the commission.
"Both Goyal and Gupta assured us that they would spare teachers this year from any election duties after we told them how difficult it gets for them to do multiple tasks together," said A J Singh, a member of the delegation.
Every year, teachers have to conduct oral and practical examinations, correct prelims papers and complete syllabus before the board exams. While SSC board exams are likely to begin from March 1 and continue till March 28, HSC exams are expected to commence from February 21 to March 28.
While the order is applicable only to those teachers who'll be on exam duty for SSC and HSC students, teachers from degree college and government aided schools in the city have already been issued letters and notices by the state to attend training programmes that will be held today and tomorrow.
"The oral exams for primary and secondary classes have been scheduled from February 2 to February 18. The state has plenty of staff for election duties, but they only want teachers," said Santosh Fasge, a secondary schoolteacher and a member of PUCTU.
Teachers claim that deploying them on election duty is against the RTE Act and HC guidelines. As per the guidelines, teachers should not be employed for poll duty during working hours. "Last year, when we protested they told us that it was violation of the SC's order, which has made it compulsory for teachers to perform election duties. They had even filed a forgery case against 25 teachers who had not attended training last year," said P Upul, a primary schoolteacher.
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