Amid the ongoing row over Bihar education department's recent circulars, the state education department has deducted the salaries of more than 2,081 school teachers, who were found absent from duty during inspections, and suspended 22 others for various teaching violations in the last four months.
Besides, the department has also recommended dismissal of 17 teachers from service for allegedly violating provisions of teachers' recruitment regulations.
The Nitish Kumar government is already facing criticism for removing the names of 21,90,020 students (till October 24) from government schools for absenteeism. Those whose names have been struck off also include 2.66 lakh students who were supposed to appear for class 10 and 12 board exams.
Both, alliance partners of the Mahagathbandhan government in Bihar as well as Opposition BJP have demanded immediate withdrawal of the order.
Ever since the department launched the intensive inspection of schools from July 1 following the instructions of additional chief secretary KK Pathak, block to district level officers have been inspecting schools as per roster prepared by the department.
"In the last four months, the department has deducted salaries of 2,081 teachers who were found absent from their duties without permission from competent authorities. Recommendations have also been sent for the salary deduction of 590 more teachers. While 22 teachers have already been suspended for various teaching violations, suspension has been recommended against 49 others.
"Besides, dismissal of 17 teachers has also been recommended for allegedly violating the provisions of the Bihar School Teachers' Recruitment regulations in the last four months," said a senior official of the department.
Reacting to departmental action against teachers, Raju Singh, convener of TET Primary Teachers' Association told PTI on Friday, "We are demanding immediate withdrawal of all actions, including salary deduction, suspension and dismissal, initiated against teachers by the education department. We are also demanding government employee status for all contractual teachers who have been teaching in government schools for the last several years. If these two demands are not met by the government by Deepawali, we (teacher associations) will launch a 'do or die' agitation against the government".
The frequent inspections and monitoring of government schools by district magistrates from July 1, as requested by Pathak in a letter dated June 23, 2023, are still going on in the state.
The department had also ordered drastic measures like expulsion of students who remain absent for 15 days at a stretch and "tracking" boys and girls studying in private schools, or even in far-off places like Kota, while remaining enrolled in government schools to avail benefits of the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme for textbooks and uniforms run by the state government.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation, which is an alliance partner of the Mahagathbandhan government in Bihar, has strongly opposed the department's decision to remove the names of 21,90,020 (till October 24, 2023) students from government schools for absenteeism.
Sandeep Saurav, CPI(ML) Liberation MLA, on Thursday termed the department's move as "dictatorial'' and demanded withdrawal of the order.
Leader of Opposition in Bihar assembly, Vijay Kumar Sinha, also demanded immediate restoration of enrolments of those students whose names have been struck off.
Despite repeated attempts by PTI, Bihar Education Minister Chandra Shekhar was not available for comments over the issue.
It may be recalled that the state education department has come out with a slew of stringent measures to improve the quality of education in the state.