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Siksha sahayaks on invigilation duty

Bhubaneswar, Feb. 24: The state government will engage siksha sahayaks, as well as teachers from primary and upper primary schools, for invigilation duty in the annual high school certificate exams starting on Monday.

Minister of school and mass education minister Rabi Narayan Nanda has taken this decision in view of the ongoing agitation by nearly 24,000 teachers and employees of the state’s 1982 block grant high schools who have decided to boycott matric exam duty because of non-fulfilment of their longstanding demands.

“We will employ para-teachers and teachers from primary and upper primary schools for invigilation so that exams are conducted smoothly. Around 1,000 teachers from block grant high schools have also expressed their wish to carry out exam duty in the interest of students,” the minister said.

Authorities of Board of Secondary Education (BSE) hoped that the block grant teachers’ strike would not affect the exams as they had the support of 40,000-odd teachers under the Odisha Secondary School Teachers’ Association.

“Ideally, there should be one invigilator for every 25 students. So, if there are five lakh regular candidates, we need 20,000 teachers. Besides, all district education officers are making alternative arrangements to meet shortage of teachers for exam-related duty,” said BSE president, Dakhya Prasad Nanda.

President of the Block Grant Secondary School Teachers’ and Employees’ Association Prashant Mohapatra alleged that the state government’s “indifference to our legitimate demands” had forced them to shun exam-related responsibilities.

“The authorities, instead of addressing our problems, are seeking the services of siksha sahayaks and other teachers for exam duty which means block grant teachers are undesirable. They might find invigilators but what about evaluation of answer sheets? We don’t want students to be harassed but how long must we continue to do the work of the government in exchange of a paltry remuneration,” asked Mohapatra.

Nearly six lakh candidates, including 60,000 ex-regular examinees, are scheduled to appear for the annual exams from February 25 to March 9 at around 2500 centres across the state.

A total of 302 nodal centres have been set up to store the confidential exam material.