Take 5: ‘700 have faced pay cuts for not taking selfies… we’re unhappy’

Teachers in UP’s Barabanki district have been asked to mark attendance by taking a selfie in school and sending it to the Basic Shiksha Adhikari before 8 am every day, failing which they would be marked absent and their day’s salary deducted. Verma points out problems with the order

Pawan Verma, 47, teacher in Barabanki

* When was the order given?

It was given in May by the district’s Chief Development Officer (CDO). It is being implemented rigorously now.

* How does the system work?

We are supposed to take a selfie and send it to a WhatsApp group. Schools start at 8 am and we are given grace time of about 5-10 minutes to post selfies. Those who fail to do so in the stipulated time stand to lose half the day’s pay and those who don’t do it at all lose the entire day’s salary. Salaries of 700 teachers have been deducted since May.

* Is this applicable to all schools?

There are 7,500 teachers in 3,150 primary and upper primary schools in the district, where this order is applicable.

* Do teachers support the order?

Teachers are unhappy because many of them travel from far-off places to schools in the interiors, where it’s difficult to reach. Moreover, some of these areas have network issues… Some senior teachers are not well-equipped with smartphones.

* Has the attendance improved?

Teachers have been trying to reach on time against all odds… But now, they are also using the WhatsApp groups to point out problems at their schools. Some have been posting selfies with stagnant water in the background.

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