Polling stations in schools won’t disrupt academic work: officials

Polling stations in schools won’t disrupt academic work: officials
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Irshad Khan

Srinagar: Even as dozens of schools would be turned into polling stations and “majority” of the polling staff deployed for Urban Local Body (ULB) polls has been drawn from School Education Department, officials maintain that it would not affect academics at educational institutions.
Besides three wards of Srinagar Municipal Corporation, voting for the first phase of ULB polls would be held for scores of municipal committees spread across districts in the state on Monday. The government has already declared a holiday on the day of voting.
Due to “randomisation” of the polling staff deployed for ULB elections, an official in Srinagar district administration told Kashmir Reader that the staff specifically taken from the School Education Department could not be known.
An insider at the School Education Department, however, said that the “majority” of polling staff has been taken from it. Officials from the department did not know the exact number of the staff, including teachers, kept on duty for the polls.
Besides scores of teachers, dozens of schools in the valley have been turned into polling stations for the day.
An official from School Education Department in Baramulla district told Kashmir Reader that “20-25” schools in the district would be used as polling stations on Monday. In other districts of the valley, scores of schools are being used as polling stations on Monday.
Chief Education Officer Baramulla, Abdul Ahad Ganai, said that academic work at schools would not be affected because “It is a holiday on that day”.
“Even training of the teachers was imparted in a phased manner, so that it does not affect the academics,” Ganai added.
Although a considerable number of teachers had been nominated for poll duty in south Kashmir, an official in the School Education Department posted in Anantnag told Kashmir Reader that a good number of teachers had been virtually relieved from election duties as all candidates have withdrawn from the polls.
“Everybody knows what the situation is. Candidates have withdrawn from the elections here. They are free now, so it does not affect the academics,” the official said.
In Budgam district, polling is being held in only one out of 72 municipal wards in the first phase because either no candidate has filed nomination or candidates have won unopposed for most of the wards scheduled to go to polls on Monday.
“There are only a few number of teachers required for the day in the single ward that is going for polls,” an official in the district said.
Joint Director South, Dr Nasir Ahmad, hoped the polls “would not affect academics anywhere”.
In view of the JKBOSE’s decision to conduct annual examinations for classes 10 and 12 later this month, schools have been asked by authorities to complete the pending portion of the syllabus before the examinations.