In the midst of the controversy surrounding recent circulars from the Bihar education department, over 2,081 school teachers have had their salaries deducted for being absent during inspections, and 22 teachers have been suspended for various teaching violations in the past four months. Additionally, the department has recommended the dismissal of 17 teachers for allegedly violating teachers’ recruitment regulations.
The Nitish Kumar government has faced criticism for removing the names of 2,190,020 students (as of October 24) from government schools due to absenteeism, including 266,000 students who were supposed to appear for class 10 and 12 board exams. Both the alliance partners of the Mahagathbandhan government in Bihar and the opposition BJP have called for an immediate withdrawal of the order.
The state education department initiated intensive school inspections starting on July 1 as per the instructions of additional chief secretary KK Pathak. These inspections, led by block to district-level officers, have continued, resulting in various disciplinary actions against teachers.
Raju Singh, convener of the TET Primary Teachers’ Association, called for the withdrawal of all actions, including salary deductions, suspensions, and dismissals against teachers by the education department. Singh also demanded government employee status for all contractual teachers teaching in government schools for several years. If these demands are not met by Deepawali, teacher associations plan to launch a protest against the government.
The department has also taken measures to expel students who are absent for 15 consecutive days and has been monitoring students who remain enrolled in government schools to benefit from the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme for textbooks and uniforms, even if they attend private schools or schools in distant locations like Kota.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation and Leader of the Opposition in the Bihar assembly, Vijay Kumar Sinha, have criticized the department’s decision to remove the names of absent students from government schools. Bihar Education Minister Chandra Shekhar was not available for comments on the issue. The state education department has implemented a series of strict measures to enhance the quality of education in Bihar.