Headmasters and teachers in-charge of primary and middle schools will not receive their salaries from June till the time they send 100 per cent data on midday meals to Jharkhand State Midday Meal Authority.
In a directive issued to all district superintendents of education on June 13, director of Jharkhand State Midday Meal Authority Aditya Kumar Anand has stated that headmasters and teachers in-charge (those who are on deputation or acting headmasters) will have to forego their salaries from June as they have failed to send 100 per cent midday meal data till April.
Districts such as Palamau, Dumka, Gumla, Garhwa, Chatra and Seraikela-Kharsawan have been the worst performers. Anand has directed the district superintendents of education to ensure that the system is rectified within a week.
According to the directive, block education officers are also liable to face disciplinary action.
Headmasters or teachers in-charge are required to send an SMS to 51969 about the attendance of students on a daily basis, which gives an idea about the midday meal consumed in a particular school.
Teachers are already up in arms against the directive.
The Akhil Bharatiya Jharkhand Prathamik Sangh said the directive was baseless as the teachers weren’t directly involved in the midday meal scenario.
“In 2015, the then primary education director had asked teachers to stay out of the midday meal scheme. However, we do send texts every day because the Saraswati Vahini members who look after the midday meals aren’t literate and don’t have mobile phones. So, we started doing it willingly. There are many remote areas where headmasters face network issues and fail to send texts. These issue should be taken into consideration before denying us our salaries,” said Sunil Kumar, state advisory board member of Akhil Bharatiya Jharkhand Prathamik Sangh.
Kumar said about 33,000 headmasters and senior teachers would be affected if the government went ahead with the decision.
Teachers said the there was no point in harassing them when members of Saraswati Vahini handled the midday meal accounts.
“It is the duty of the headmaster or teachers in-charge to send the data. They also receive Rs 40 for doing the job. Had there been any technical problem, they could have informed us,” an official of Jharkhand State Midday Meal Authority said.