Mumbai: In a first, private school teachers summoned for election duty

05 April,2024 05:38 AM IST |  Mumbai  |  Shirish Vaktania

MKVV International Vidyalaya School at Borivli doesn’t get govt aid or grant; teachers have been threatened with FIR if they don’t comply

Teachers of Matushri Kashiben Vrajlal Valia (MKVV) International Vidyalaya, a private school, at Gautam Nagar, Borivli, have been summoned for poll duty. Pic/Satej Shinde

In a first, teachers from a private school in Mumbai, which doesn't receive any grant or aid from the government, have been ordered to join poll duty. Generally, teachers and staff from government schools or those that receive grants for aid from the government are roped in for election work. The staff has also been warned that if they failed to participate in election duty and training, the police would issue summons against them and register an FIR.

The upcoming Lok Sabha Elections 2024 has disrupted the summer vacation of teachers at the Borivli-based MKVV International Vidyalaya School. The election committee informed teachers that they were required for election duty. Two days ago, an election officer visited the school and handed over a letter to the teachers about the duty call and that it would be preceded by a training session.

Interestingly, in the communication issued by the election office to the teachers, the school has been mentioned as MK Gujarati School which was closed down many years ago and MKVV International Vidyalaya School was opened two decades ago on the premises. It is possible that the election office staff assumed that the MK Gujarati School was still being run on the same premises.

This year, a workforce of over 50,000 has been summoned for election duties across government sectors in Mumbai by the collectors. The collector also enlisted staff from government schools, government-aided schools, and government grant-in-aid schools, where the schools are privately-run but salaries are issued by the government.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a teacher from the school said, "We work in a private school and the election commission can't compel us to perform election duty. Two days ago, we received a list of teachers from our school who were required for election duty. We had vacation plans, and I had booked a tour to the US. Suddenly, I was ordered to join election duty, which forced me to cancel my flights and bookings. I even approached the election officers, who threatened an FIR against me."

Another teacher from MKVV School stated, "We don't want to perform election duty because we had planned a tour in that particular month. Election duty is mandatory for government school teachers, not for private schools. How can they compel us? We have requested help from the school principal and the election commission officer but have not received any assistance. They are pressuring and threatening us."

Another school teacher expressed, "We work in a private school. We understand that election duty is a national duty, and we respect that. However, teachers only get vacation during the summer months. My son lives in the UK, and my family has booked flights to visit. Now, we have received this letter from the election committee to join duty. We are unsure of what to do now. Last year, we received a form from the school, related to voting only, not election duty. We feel helpless now."

Principal says

MKVV School Principal Nimisha Singh stated, "We run a private school and do not fall under the government school category. Our school teachers received letters from the election office regarding duty. We have informed all teachers about this situation, but we do not have details on how they were selected for duty."

Suburban Collector Rajendra Kshirsagar commented, "This year, we hired more than 50,000 staff for election duty from the government sector. We still require more staff for election duties. We are recruiting staff from government schools, government-aided schools, and government-granted schools that are privately operated but funded by the government. We will investigate the situation with MKVV School. Until now, we have not recruited any staff from private schools."

No of govt sector staff to be deployed for poll duty

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Lok Sabha Lok Sabha Elections 2024 borivali Maharashtra Assembly Polls mumbai news mumbai
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