Administrative tasks tiring teachers, hurting education quality in govt schools?- The New Indian Express

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Many teachers from across TN complain that they are saddled with non-teaching work, affecting their ability to focus on teaching.

These works, they say, range from uploading health details of students on EMIS (Educational Management Information System), ensuring that government schemes reach children and even going door-to-door to link Aadhaar with ration cards.

Kalaiselvi (name changed), a government primary school teacher in Krishnagiri district, said in the Ennum Ezhuthum scheme, modules are provided beforehand.

“We teach children four days a week and conduct online tests on Fridays. We prepare teaching and learning materials as per details in the teachers’ handbook on weekends and prepare for the next week’s class. These are our duties and we are ready to even go the extra mile to do it,” she said.

However, what troubles her is the booth-level officer duty allotted to her by the revenue department, where she has to visit houses in the locality to help residents link Aadhaar with ration cards.

“We can ask for an hour between 3 pm and 4 pm to do this work. But, as school-related work keeps us busy, we are forced to do the work after school hours. We have to also attend meetings with revenue officials. This is taking a toll on our health and school work.” A large number of teachers in many districts are allotted this type of work.

A teacher from Kancheepuram says she has to cover 1,600 houses and help residents link Aadhaar with ration cards. “I have managed to finish only 416 so far. Often, we have to visit a house four or five times for the residents to give us details. This is also putting additional pressure on us,” she said.

Teachers also say after the syllabi for all classes have been revised, they are finding it difficult to finish portions in time and hold tests.

“Students returned to their schools after a gap of two years and portions have also become larger after syllabus revision. While we should be spending more time teaching children, we are using the majority of our time sending details of students to district educational officers and filling in details on the EMIS app.

The school education department recently asked teachers to upload health details of students on the EMIS app through a list of 36 yes-or-no questions. These include questions on the size of their heads, facial and dental features, and whether they smoke/drink and play online games for long hours.

“We haven’t been trained on how to fill these questionnaires. It should ideally be done by people from the health department as officials plan to organize health camps with this data,” said a teacher.

Some teachers say clerical posts in government schools remain vacant. When junior assistants retire, new staff are not appointed.

“The department is trying to improve the quality of education in government schools. Reducing the burden of non-teaching tasks on teachers is one way to do it. Teachers also feel that the department’s top brass was making plans without obtaining input on how to implement. them on the ground. The government should also focus on improving student-teacher relationships in the changed scenario after the pandemic,” said Perumalsamy, President of Tamil Nadu PG Teachers’ Association.

An officer from the school education department said that following complaints from teachers, the EMIS application has been updated to help them fill in details faster. Teachers can feed inputs even without an internet connection, and they will automatically get uploaded whenever the device connects to the internet. The officer said other issues of the teachers would also be looked into.

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