Education Dept Draws Flak For Suspending Teachers on Second Day of Eid

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SRINAGAR — The Department of Education is being slammed for placing under suspension five teachers for “unauthorised absence” from duty on the second day of Eid-ul-Fitr.

Five teachers of Middle School Shalteng were suspended for “their unauthorized absence from duties” following a surprise visit to the school, reads an order issued by Chief Education Officer (CEO) Srinagar Malik Naseer on Thursday.

A “charge sheet shall be issued separately” and  the suspended teachers “will remain attached in the same school,” according to the order.

Many social media users including politicians and journalists felt such a “harsh” action against the teachers was unwarranted, given the auspiciousness of the Eid festival.  Others called for an overhaul of the education system, arguing that such arbitrary measures were serving little purpose.   

“Education Dept’s ‘Hindutva-friendly’ inspection on second Eid! On second Eid, when Govt employees in Kashmir prefer to be on leave to spend the day with their families, Director Education Kashmir, Muhammad Younis Malik, was seen busy with inspection of schools in Srinagar. How does he expect the staff and students to be present on the day of Muslim festival?” journalist Majid Hyderi wrote on Facebook.

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IAS officer-turned-politician and former Director School Education Kashmir, Dr Shah Faesal, said Eid celebrations should last longer as Kashmiris get very little time to celebrate. “Eid could be an important occasion to give people a few joyful days in an otherwise sombre ecosystem,” he wrote on Facebook. “Protracted conflict has made mourning as our culture. People have a right to celebrate.”

Faesal also made a mention of a government order wherein all educational institutions up to higher secondary level were ordered shut for five days to observe Pooja holidays in Jammu division.

“On the other hand our local darogas suspended teachers today on the second day of Eid for absence from duty,” he added.

Awami Ittehad Party chief Er Rasheed termed the move as ‘discriminatory’.

“Now who is communalising education?” he asked while referring to the order for Jammu division.

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Another social media user said the move was nothing but a “mockery” of education and suggested authorities instead emulate Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s initiatives to improve education system in Jammu and Kashmir.

 “One gets disheartened to see the conditions of schools in terms of infrastructure,” said Khursheed Untoo in his Facebook post. “Director Education looks more loyal than RSS.”

Kashmir Observer could not reach the Director Education for a comment, despite repeated attempts.

CEO Srinagar said the action against the teachers was taken following complaints by some locals regarding their absence from duty.

 Teachers body questions ‘timing and intent’; Calls for Eid holidays on three days

Federation of University Teachers Associations of Kashmir (FUTAK) – an amalgam of the teacher’s associations of the University of Kashmir, Central University of Kashmir and SKAUST-Kashmir— has questioned the timing and intent behind the “overzealous actions” of Director School Education Kashmir.

In a statement, spokesperson of the federation, while referring to the suspension of five teachers for absence from duty on second day of Eid, said DESK has underestimated the religious fervour and gaiety with which these festivals are celebrated across the world.

The statement said when DESK was suspending the teachers on the eve of Eid, at the same time Director School Education Jammu (DSEJ) allowed pooja holidays for five days through a government order.

 While fully endorsing the academic accountability and punctuality  of teachers in schools, colleges and universities, the spokesperson  termed these actions of DSEK as uncalled for and suggested he pay “greater attention towards other important issues concerning the school education in government sector like poor performance of students in board examinations, thin attendance in classrooms, poor infrastructure of govt. schools, below standard lab facilities, non-competitiveness with private schools, over-charging of fee by private schools etc rather than exhibiting muscle power on religious festivals when hardly any students turn up for the class work.”


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