Now state ropes in students for election duty
School principals in Chembur have got a WhatsApp circular asking to prepare a list of students from Std IX and XI for election duty on October 21
A WhatsApp circular, asking school principals in Chembur to select students from Std IX and XI for election duty on October 21, has thrown parents and teachers into confusion. Though the children are excited, their parents have questioned the directive, saying it is 'weird' to make children work 'long hours'.
"For upcoming Assembly elections, students of Std IX and XI are going to be appointed as volunteers. Considering the number of booths a school will have, each school should send names of two students for each booth. The list of students should be submitted to the office by Monday, October 7, before noon," reads the circular education inspector Mushtaq Shaikh sent on WhatsApp groups of schools and junior colleges in Chembur.
Several school heads have prepared the list of students who have volunteered for the task. mid-day has a copy of some of the lists. One principal, on condition of anonymity, said, "It [circular] is weird as generally teachers are assigned for election duty. But we are here to follow orders." Another prinicipal said, "We do not know under which regulation this kind of voluntary support has been asked."
Students will have to report at 7am on election day. Their tasks include guiding voters, helping elderly people and assisting the election staff in their school. A parent of one of the volunteers from Vivekanand School said, "My son willingly agreed for poll duty. Children are excited about participating. We have been told that he will be relieved if they find a replacement by noon." Another parent, whose child is goes to Vinay School, said, "Children will be excited, but I wonder if it is even a task for children."
Several attempts for a comment from Shaikh went unanswered.
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Maharashtra Assembly Elections 2019: All you need to know!