With allegations of teachers staying away from classrooms due to their engagement in election-related works flooding the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), School and Mass Education (SME) department has urged the Chief Electoral Officer to ensure that election work does not hamper teachers’ duty in schools.

“The Chairperson of the NCPCR has communicated that a large number of complaints are being received by the Commission from Odisha regarding teachers remaining away from school during teaching hours for regular electoral roll revision work as Booth Level Officer (BLO),” said Usha Padhee, School and Mass Education secretary, in a letter addressed to the CEO recently.

Citing the Election Commission’s instructions on teachers’ engagement in election duty, the SME secretary pointed out at non-involvement of teachers during teaching days and teaching hours and using other employees or contract staff who are not teachers.

Similarly, Ms. Padhee maintained that Kerala model in which applications are invited from the State, the Central government and the PSU employees for election duty could reduce the number of teachers.

“The engagement of teachers as BLOs, may be undertaken while assuring that the teachers do not remain away during school hours on working days. The suggestions of the NCPCR for recruitment of non-teaching staff for BLO duties may also be taken as an alternative approach,” the SME secretary intimated CEO.

Supervision of schools

NCPCR Chairperson Shantha Sinha recently wrote to the State government to advise education department to strengthen the monitoring and supervision of schools to ensure that teachers do not remain away during school hours on working days for election related works or use the pretext of BLO related duties.

Besides, the State government was also recommended to promote recruitment of non-teaching staff for BLO duties.

Citing the Election Commission's instructions, SME secretary Usha Padhee says other employees or contract staff should be used