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Public smoking ban for teachers
Kanti Biswas

Calcutta, Nov. 5: The government expects schoolteachers not to smoke, drink, chew paan or tobacco in public as long as they are in service.

A new code of conduct ' in which also figures a ban on private tuition ' is ready and waiting to be published in the government gazette.

'The regulations will be in effect from the day after the notification is issued. Every teacher working in state-aided schools affiliated to the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education is expected to abide by the new set of professional guidelines,' said school education minister Kanti Biswas

The code suggests a string of restrictions:

• Teachers should never smoke, consume alcohol or narcotic substances in public as long as they are in service...

• Should not give tuition...

•...use corporal punishment on students...

•..cause mental torture...

•...behave in a manner improper and derogatory to the prestige of the institution...

•...let students indulge in unfair practices and...

• ...should refrain from extravagance and flamboyance in dress or display of wealth in the institution and abide by the institution's dress-code

THE WHIP
• Censure
• Withholding of one or more (not exceeding three) annual increments
• Fine — up to a month’s basic pay
• Dismissal

The government had asked the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education last year to consult representatives of major teachers' bodies across the state and prepare a draft of the new code of conduct.

The nine-page code, which the government prefers to call 'professional ethics', was submitted to the school education department by the secondary board last month.

Clause 7 of the code says: 'No teaching staff shall engage in any sort of tuition for personal gains within or outside the premises and hours of the institution.'

Once in effect, the code will bar over 1.25 lakh teachers not just from private tuition but from having any income outside salary. 'No teacher or non-teaching staff shall engage in any private business and trade,' the code says.

They will not be permitted to 'undertake any employment other than his/her service directly or indirectly or use his or her position to help any kind of business, agency or undertaking', says clause 5.

Teachers will be penalised depending on the gravity of the misconduct.

The code makes it a must for every teacher to perform duties related to examinations ' such as preparing question papers, evaluating answer scripts, preparing marksheets and invigilating in examination halls ' conducted by the board or the institution.

The only relief in the code comes in the form of teachers' rights to go on strike, contest elections and form unions.

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