Schoolteachers in Gujarat have been asked to file affidavits declaring they do not have any case related to child abuse or violence registered against them, state government officials have said. The directive, which makes submission of affidavits mandatory, covers both government and private school teachers, they said. The officials said by issuing the directive they are just following the Supreme Court guidelines related to the School Safety Policy, but the opposition Congress has claimed the move would demoralise teachers.
As per the education department direction, all schoolteachers need to submit individual affidavits declaring they do not have any case under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) or the Juvenile Justice Act registered against them in the state.
In addition, all primary, secondary and higher secondary schoolteachers have to declare if they were ever found guilty of sexual offences or for any other form of violence in the past, the officials said.
They said this is being done to ensure safety of schoolchildren.
"Verification of teachers is part of the School Safety Policy, which came into effect across the country as per the directions of the SC," said Director of Primary Education Mahesh Joshi.
"This is compulsory for all the teachers as per the court's order, which came after an incident of murder in a Delhi school (in 2017). We have already received affidavits from several districts," he added.
However, the Congress said all the teachers should not be made to submit such an affidavit for the misdeeds of a few.
"We also support the policy for the safety of children in schools. But, all the teachers should not be made to sign such an affidavit for the misdeeds of few.
"This is an attack on the self-respect of teachers," said state Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi.
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