Apart from the hectic task of conducting online classes, the government school teachers in Delhi have also been assigned to perform COVID-19 duties at dispensary, airport and on the road to collect challans.
“Our primary duty is teaching but since the pandemic, we are everywhere. At the airport, dispensary and roads collecting challan, while we ensure no class is missed,” said the office bearer of Government School Teachers Association, Krishna Kumar Phogat (PE Lecturer) and working president of Loktantrik Adhkapak Manch.
“Almost all Physical education teachers, which is roughly 1,500-2,000, have been roped in. The teachers from all subjects have been picked for the duty. They are collecting challans, trying to meet the target of 20-25 in a day. And in case the teachers fail to meet the target, a memo or a notice is issued. In some cases, the teachers are also being treated with disrespect on not meeting the target of challans,” he added.
Another teacher, who had served in airports at the time of Vande Bharat Mission and was later given the added responsibility of collecting challans, on the ground of anonymity, said, “Teaching is a very gentle profession. But during the pandemic, we are doing many other things like uploading the data on the ICMR website, manning the dispensary and also on the roads booking people for not wearing masks and slapping challans. We are being given show-cause notice for not meeting the target. Life is stressful and has an impact on our well-being to be able to record lectures,” he said.
The PE teachers believe that almost everybody from their discipline have been put on such duties “because of a perception that there won’t be much work for us in the lockdown as there are no big assembly of students or we are seen as having more stamina,” said a PE teacher.
While collecting challans, few of the teachers have to prove to the offenders that they have the authority to collect the challan, in case there is no administrative authority present.
Phogat said, “The teachers are teaching online, uploading the lectures and performing COVID-19 duty offline. They are at the forefront in this time, easing the work but are also badly equipped and affected. In some cases, we provided the masks and sanitisers, many have lost family members to the virus. This is a harsh reality of government school teachers.”
A case was filed in Delhi High Court over the issue of pending salaries of teaching staff in North Delhi Municipal Corporation (DMC) schools in the national capital.
The court had observed teachers of the North Delhi Municipal Corporation schools have not received salaries since March and said that their service can be equated to coronavirus warriors.