The J&K government is considering to doing away with the daily attendance of the teachers in schools in view of the spike in COVID-19 cases reported on a daily basis.
Talking to Greater Kashmir, Administrative Secretary School Education Department Bishwajit Kumar Singh said that they would take a call on daily attendance of the teachers in the schools.
“I will look into it and take a decision accordingly,” he said.
A top official said that the department was already deliberating on the issue with the concerned officers in view of the surge in COVID-19 cases.
“Discussion is going on regarding the issue and all its aspects are taken into consideration. The daily attendance of the teachers in schools will not be mandatory,” the official said.
The newly-appointed Director School Education Kashmir, Tasaduq Hussain Mir said that he had also taken up the matter with the Administrative department.
“I discussed the issue about daily attendance of teachers in the school and the government may take a decision in this regard,” he said.
While the government is mulling to exempt teachers from attending their schools on a daily basis, the Chief Education Officer (CEO) Srinagar has warned the teachers in the district to report to their school on a daily basis.
The warning has been issued after some heads of the schools, to avoid gatherings at their respective institutions, prepared a roster for the teaching staff for attending the schools.
“It has come to my notice that head of the institutions of some schools have issued rosters for 50 percent attendance of their staff on their own. All the heads are directed to ensure 100 percent attendance of the staff in their respective schools,” reads a circular issued by CEO Srinagar.
However, the move has evoked criticism from the teaching fraternity and the heads of the schools saying that the rosters were prepared to avoid gathering in the schools.
“Our campuses remain crowded if we call entire staff on a daily basis. And even if the teachers report to schools as per the roster, they deliver their online classes daily from school as well as home,” said a school headmaster.
“The teachers use public transport and come from different areas. Who will be responsible if any of them contracted the virus,” he said.
The teaching staff of a higher secondary school in Shalimar area of Srinagar said some of the faculty members tested positive for COVID-19.
However, they said that the department did not close the school, putting the lives of the staff and their families at risk.
“The teachers tested positive for COVID-19 and the area was declared a ‘micro-containment zone’ a few days ago. Ironically, we are forced to attend the school daily,” a teacher said.
Notably, the universities have given liberty to the teaching staff for delivering online classes as per their convenience while the college teachers have to attend the institutions as per the rosters prepared by the concerned college principals.
“The basic concept of suspending offline class work is to break the chain but the teachers are forced to attend the schools daily,” a teacher said.
The teachers said that they were forced into packed staff rooms to deliver lectures which poses risk to them and their families.
“We can easily do this job from home like we did the last year. By coming to the school using public transport on a daily basis, we are risking our lives and further helping in the spread of the virus,” a teacher said.
Notably, the teachers performed their duties in an extraordinary manner by delivering online classes from their residences.
Study material was also prepared by the teachers for students from primary to class 12th students.
Commenting on the instructions of the CEO Srinagar, the Administrative Secretary said the matter would be looked into.