Also, many teachers also expressed concern whether the classes 10 and 11 syllabus could be covered, as their board exams are to be conducted soon after the election during which government schools would be used for poll-related work.
The decision to give election duty even for higher secondary teachers came after Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora’s recent order to establish 25,000 more polling booths in addition to the existing 65,000 as a part of COVID-19 safety norms. For this, thousands of headmasters and principals would be put on election duty, including as presiding officer, assistant presiding officer, polling officials and zonal duty officers.
About one lakh teachers are usually deployed for election duty. “However, for the coming Assembly elections, about 75,000 additional teaching staff from government and aided schools will be appointed as polling booths were increased,” a senior official from the School Education Department told DT Next.
“Board exam students have already lost more than nine months, and they have only a little time to cover the portions. Sending their teachers for poll duty will further dent their studies,” said Tamil Nadu Teachers’ Association president PK Ilamaran, urging the government to exempt at least Class 12 teachers.
PB Prince Gajendra Babu, general secretary, State Platform for Common School System - Tamil Nadu, said the pressure on students and teachers would increase further if Class 12 teachers were sent for election duty.
S Arumainathan, president of the Tamil Nadu Students Parents Welfare Association said the board exams were expected to be held only by July as teachers need time to cover the portions. “However, it will be held by May itself. Putting teachers on the election work will further affect the students. Also, because government schools will be used as polling booths, conducting classes at that time will not be possible,” he pointed out.