The government school teachers in two districts of Bihar have been directed to click photos of people found relieving themselves in open as part of the state’s Open Defecation Free (ODF) campaign. The state government recently issued order for Muzaffarpur and Aurangabad districts says that teachers should make rounds of their areas in the mornings and evenings and take pictures on their mobiles to shame the offenders.
However, Teachers’ associations have expressed their resentment over the government’s decision. The teachers said, while they support the ODF campaign, they find it “difficult” to comply with government order as it “insults teachers,” undermines “dignity” and could “endanger safety”.
“We were told to take pictures of open defecation. When we said that it could create a law-and-order problem, especially, if we were to take pictures of women or girls going for open defecation, there was no satisfactory response,” a Muzaffarpur teacher told Indian Express.
Bihar Madhyamik Sikshak Sangh (BMSS) general secretary Shatrughan Prasad Singh also wrote to chief minister Nitish Kumar demanding the withdrawal of the order that requires teachers to visit villages in the morning and evening.
“Teachers are already overworked. They are used in a number of non-teaching works like census, preparation of voters’ list etc. This new order on open defecation is not only an addition, it is also an insult to their dignity,” Singh said.
State Education Minister Krishna Nandan Prasad Verma, however, defended the move, saying “Teachers are intellectuals and can perform the task of convincing people not to defecate in the open much better than others.”
“Moreover, the teachers do not have to keep a tab on those defecating in the open throughout the day. They will have to take some time off in the mornings and the evenings. This will not affect their teaching work,” he told PTI.