Haryana wants its teachers to act as priests

Haryana wants its teachers to act as priests

Haryana wants teachers in its schools to perform as priests for a state-sponsored religious event and those who "err" will be prosecuted.

A diktat by the government asking teachers to act as priests during a state-sponsored religious event, called the 'Kapal Mochan-2017', has stirred a controversy in the BJP-ruled state.

Before the actual event, the teachers will have to attend a training session, and the communique issued in this regard threatens teachers with disciplinary proceeding in case they do not turn up for the session.

Sources said the training would include some basic instructions to help teachers perform the job of a temple priest.

The teachers have opposed the move. Many teachers boycotted an earlier training session scheduled for last week, which is what prompted the authorities to issue the diktat.

They argue that engaging teachers in non-teaching activities can be detrimental to delivering quality education to students.

The state government under RSS ideologue Manohar Lal Khattar is already facing criticism for alleged "saffronisation" of education in the state. This controversy has only added fuel to the fire.

Shortage

Haryana faces an acute shortage of teachers in many areas, especially in the hinterland. Examination results in many government schools have remained deplorable. The drop-out rates are not in any way a consolation.

Jawahar Yadav, Officer on Special Duty to the Haryana chief minister, on Wednesday defended the move saying the intent behind the exercise is to involve teachers in a manner that will streamline activities during the event.

As per government rules, government teachers and other officers can be designated to activities other than what they have been appointed for.

Teachers, for instance, have to perform jobs related to census enumeration, polio drives and election duty, among other jobs.

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