School teachers in Rajasthan have been given a new assignment– to collect stool samples of students to assess the impact of de-worming initiatives. This has led to protests by teachers’ associations.
The Rajasthan Council of School Education (RCScE) issued an order on July 11 to all district education officers (DEOs) and district project coordinators of the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan regarding a survey of school children by De-worm the World Initiative from July 5, to study worms found in their stool.
Deworm the World Initiative is a programme led by the non-profit Evidence Action that works to support governments in developing school-based deworming programmes in Kenya, India, Ethiopia, and Vietnam.
HT has a copy of this order.
The teachers have been told to accompany the NGO team to the houses of the school children for facilitating collection of the samples after convincing their parents.
The NGO is doing the survey since despite the de-worming exercise at the government level there are instances of presence of worms in the stomachs of school children. It will collect samples of 50 children from each government school in 25 districts of the state.
Meanwhile, teachers are protesting against the new assignment.
“Teachers are meant to teach in schools; such assignments are below our dignity,” said Ashok Nagar of Rajasthan Shikshak Sangh (Rashtriya). Teachers are already burdened with census, elections, admission, enrolment and other duties, he added.
“The government should use its health workers for this. The survey has so far not started but we will protest against it whenever it does,” Nagar said.
“Using teachers to collect stool samples is impractical and teachers should not be used in such activities,” said Ghulam Jilani of Shikshak Sangh Shekhawat.
Kota chief district education officer Hajari Lal Shivhare said the orders arrived on July 11 and so far he had received no complaints from teachers.
“Volunteers of the NGO will collect the samples. The teachers are required to only accompany them to students’ houses and to convince the parents for it,” he added.
Jul 14, 2019 18:58 IST