Special Correspondent

Government issues circular in this regard

Bangalore: The Karnataka Government has sent a circular strictly forbidding teachers from being recruited for non-teaching work during the academic year to ensure that the quality of education does not suffer.

The circular sent on July 21 says that employing teachers for non-teaching work amounts to violating the Constitutional right of the child and should be avoided. The direction comes in the wake of complaints that teachers were being recruited for electoral revision work in the course of the academic year, despite a Supreme Court ruling that forbids this.

The apex court had given directions to the Election Commission in 2007 not to employ government teachers for poll-related duty during working hours as it affected the education of children. It may be recalled that over 50 per cent of teachers in schools in many parts of Karnataka, including Bangalore city, had been deputed for electoral roll revision work before the Assembly election, affecting academic activities.

The Bench had rejected the contention of the Election Commission that holding of elections was a sovereign function in a democracy and it was mandated under the Constitution to ask for deployment of government staff for conducting elections. Following this, circulars were sent by the Election Commission in January 2008 stating that teachers should be spared election duty.

“Employing teachers for electoral roll revision, distribution of BPL cards and so on has been happening despite the court order,” said Basavaraj Gurikar, president of the Karnataka State Primary School Teachers’ Association. The association had recently complained to the Education Department on this.

G. Kumar Naik, Commissioner for Public Instruction, said that the circular was to “re-emphasise” the court direction and ensure that teachers are not disturbed during the academic year.