Bihar govt suspends teachers’ training programmes to engage them in caste survey

Patna: A day after the Patna High Court held the caste survey in Bihar as “valid” and “legal”, the state government on Wednesday swung into action and suspended all ongoing training programmes for teachers so that they can be engaged for early completion of the exercise.

In a letter, State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) Director Sajjan R urged competent authorities to immediately suspend all such teachers’ training programmes.

He sent the letter to the Bihar Institute of Public Administration and Rural Development (BIPARD-Gaya and Patna), heads of all teacher education colleges, district institutes for education and training, primary teacher education colleges and such block institutes.

“Following the direction of the state government, all ongoing training programmes for teachers across the state are suspended with immediate effect. The decision has been taken to ensure that services of teachers (including new recruits) can be utilised for early completion of the caste survey in the state,” the SCERT director said.

Apart from doing their routine teaching work at their respective schools, teachers, who are undergoing training, are also instructed to contribute their services in the caste survey, he said in the letter.

The Patna High Court had, on May 4, temporarily suspended Bihar’s ongoing caste survey. The state government maintained that the collection of caste-based data is a constitutional mandate.

However, the high court on Tuesday held the caste survey as “valid” and “legal”.

The court had also dismissed petitions filed against the caste survey initiated by the state government in June 2022.

The first phase of the exercise was completed on January 21. Around 15,000 officials, including enumerators and observers, had been assigned various responsibilities for the door-to-door survey.

The state government would spend Rs 500 crore from its contingency fund for the exercise.

The general administration department is the nodal authority for the survey.

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