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Bihar teachers asked to ‘monitor’ open defecation, up in arms

IANS | Patna |

A Bihar government directive to school teachers to “monitor” open defecation in their areas has raised a stink, with affected staff up in arms over the order which they dubbed as “against teachers’ dignity”.

The Education Department is said to have issued orders to teachers of government high schools to check open defecation in the morning and evening hours as well as to create public awareness against it and the health benefits of the use of proper toilets.

Teachers unions have opposed the order and demanded its recall.

An association of middle school teachers has announced that its members will not perform the assigned tasks.

“We demand that the state government revoke the order without delay,” an association leader said.

Officials said it was decided to involve school teachers in the sanitation campaign and to fight the menace of open defecation.

A leader of the contractual school teachers’ association, Dhananjay Sharma, said the order was “inappropriate”, particularly for women teachers.

Besides, he said, additional responsibility on teachers will adversely affect the quality of education.

The central government had expressed concern that a large number of people in Bihar are still defecating in the open and that not a single district has so far been declared ODF (open defecation-free).

Compared to other states, Bihar is said to be at the bottom as far as open defecation is concerned.

The state government has announced to achieve ODF in Bihar by October 2, 2019, under the Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin.