The Nitish Kumar-led Bihar government has a new task for teachers in Bihar – photograph those defecating or relieving in the open. School principals have been asked to supervise the task.
Educators are not too happy with this new charge.
Protesting against it, general secretary of Bihar Secondary Teachers Association Shatrughan Prasad Singh said, "Teachers are already overworked. They are used in a number of non-teaching works like census, preparation of voters list etc. This new order on open defecation is not only an addition, it is also an insult to their dignity."
The instructions have been issued by Block Education Officers, as a part of the state's Open Defecation Free (ODF) campaign. The idea is to shame and name people defecating in the open. Currently, teachers have been allotted one of the two shifts to discharge this duty - 5:00 am and 4:00 pm.
This is not the first time that Bihar`s teachers have been asked to do a job outside their profession.In the past, teachers have been posted on census duty, election duty, and have had to compile voters` list.
Defending the move, State Education Minister Krishna Nandan Prasad Verma said, "There's unnecessary controversy. Teachers are respected in society. Department thought if they make people aware, they'll be heard and followed. They weren't asked to set aside teaching for it."
He, however, agreed that clicking photos while in the 'act' may not be that nice.
"Clicking selfies with defaulters is different matter, personally I didn't like it. We just want teachers to exercise their influence in society and bring awareness," he added.