Uttarakhand schools protest education minister’s directive

DEHRADUN: Uttarakhand schools have resented education minister Arvind Pandey’s directive to paste details of teachers including their photos and mobile numbers on school notice boards. In a meeting attended by heads of 38 schools who are part of the Principals Progressive Schools’ Association (PPSA), many schools said that female unmarried teachers in particular are not comfortable with their photos and mobile numbers being put up on display as it may lead to their harassment by miscreants.

Elaborating on the misgivings expressed by the schools, Prem Kashyap, president, PPSA told TOI, “The apprehension of female teachers is justified since they may be unnecessarily troubled if their phone numbers are made public. Also, we have at least three parent-teacher meetings yearly, so parents are in regular contact with teachers and know them personally. Besides, we have already given the requisite details of all teachers to the education department as well as CBSE.”

He added that “by making the details public, the right to privacy of the teachers was also being infringed.” “Even the Supreme Court has recently upheld the right to privacy as a fundamental right and we should respect that. We are planning to meet the education minister Arvind Pandey in this regard in a day or two to show our displeasure and request withdrawal of these orders. However, if nothing comes out of the meeting, we will approach chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat to to intervene in the matter.”
The education minister had issued the directive to all schools in the state — government as well as private — on September 17 and the deadline given for implementing the measures was September 27. However, in another directive on September 18, the education department had clarified that “pasting of profile details of teachers should be done while taking care of their dignity.”
A female teacher from a private city-based school meanwhile said that the step seemed “completely unnecessary.” “Maybe the intention was good since it was meant to safeguard students but most certainly there would be people who might misuse the details which are pasted on school notice boards. Also, all our details are with the school, CBSE and the state education department, so there really is not much need for this step.”
A senior education department official when contacted said that “we have not yet been notified or informed about any such issues by private schools.” “If there genuinely is some issue of concern for teachers, it will promptly be looked into once it is brought to our notice.”

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