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Teachers put on poll duty threaten to boycott work

State teachers body says election duty call violates RTE law

The Maharashtra Rajya Shikshak Parishad (state teachers' council) has threatened its members will boycott work if the education department does not withdraw the names of the teachers included in the list of those selected for election duty in the upcoming October poll.

Teachers across the state, and especially in Mumbai and the city, have been protesting as they claim the government move goes against the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, which says teachers should not be assigned census and election duties.

The education department sent notices to teachers of private, unaided and government-aided schools last week asking them to report for election duty, failing which they will have to face the consequences.The primary school teachers on election duty will have to select the list of voters, make corrections like rectifying misspelled names and designations, create the photo pass, among other duties.

Exams ahead
"The teachers have to do lots of arrangements and also prepare for the semester exams during October. Nevertheless, it is not their job to be on election duty. We are strongly opposing it," said Rashtriya Shikshak Parishad director Anil Bornare, who has sent letters to the state education department and the Election Commission asking for a reconsideration of the decision.

The letters state that since semester exams for Standard IX and X and Std XII will be conducted in October, it will be difficult for the teachers to report for election duty as they will be tied up with exam work and other mid-term assessments. "They are simply violating the Right To Education order by asking teachers to perform election duties. Those who have ignored the duties have been sent notices. We'll wait for another four to five days and take the decision to boycott work," said Bornare.

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