Punjab school education secretary Krishan Kumar carried out an unscheduled inspection of a handful of schools across the district, which sent school heads and education department officials into a tizzy as videos and photographs of his visit were circulated on messaging groups.
The secretary was in town to check arrangements for the National Achievement Survey to be conducted in November this year and made an unscheduled visit to Government High School, Ghulal; Government Primary Smart School, Ghulal, Samrala; and a Government School in Bhamia Kalan on Saturday.
With the rumour mill working overtime with reports of his visit to schools in the Mangat Block, which was refuted by block primary education officers, teachers and principals called their counterparts in different schools and blocks to confirm his visit and ascertain if he would visit their school as well.
Some union leaders dismissed the photos and videos as dated. “It is unlikely that the secretary visited Ludhiana as teachers here have strongly condemned his inaction in the Punjab School Education Board mid-term paper leak and have also been demanding the transfer of the district education officer,” said a teachers’ union leader.
Confirming his visit to the industrial hub, Kumar said, “Yes, I am in Ludhiana and visited a few schools in the district.”
An education department officer said, “We received information about his visit around 10 days ago, but the date was not confirmed. His visit came as a surprise to school authorities, and he interacted with students and teachers.”
The secretary emphasised on the need to adhere to Covid safety guidelines. Sukhdarshan Singh, president, Anti-Cheating Teachers’ Front, Punjab, who was the whistle blower in the PSEB midterm paper leak controversy, said. “He did not inform anyone about his visit since he did not want to alert the teachers unions who could have questioned him about his inaction against the paper leak in the state.”
The Joint Teachers’ Front staged a protest after Kumar’s visit to the district. Union leader Hardev Singh Mullapur accused Kumar of spreading fear and uncertainty among school heads. “The secretary should have informed schools before his visit. We knew that he would visit Ludhiana on Saturday, but he did not reveal which schools he would visit, which is unacceptable,” said Hardev
Another leader, Deep Raja, demanded Kumar’s immediate transfer to some other department accusing him of putting students future in dark. “The secretary is pressuring teachers to only focus on NAS and the mainstream syllabus is being compromised. He will ruin the future of the students and should immediately be relieved from his current posting as education secretary,” said Raja.