Jalandhar teachers rue lack of planning in kinnow distribution, appreciate govt’s initiative : The Tribune India

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Mid-day meals

Jalandhar teachers rue lack of planning in kinnow distribution, appreciate govt’s initiative

Say it led to disruption in classes and exam schedule as they had to wait for hours

Jalandhar teachers rue lack of planning in kinnow distribution, appreciate govt’s initiative

Teachers collect kinnows for mid-day meals at the BPEOs office on the Ladowali road in Jalandhar on Tuesday. Photos: Sarabjit Singh



Tribune News Service

Avneet Kaur

Jalandhar, February 20

The Education Department’s decision of replacing bananas with seasonal fruits in the mid-day meal menu was welcomed by teachers and students as it would support the state’s farmers. However, a lack of planning and coordination led to much ambiguity. Many teachers who had gone to collect kinnows at Block Primary Education Officers’ (BPEOs) offices ended up spending a significant part of their day waiting for the trucks carrying the fruit to arrive.

Teachers collect kinnows for mid-day meals at the BPEOs office on the Ladowali road in Jalandhar on Tuesday. Photos: Sarabjit Singh

A group of teachers, speaking anonymously, said the truck bringing the kinnows was scheduled to arrive in the morning but it arrived at the offices only around noon. This delay led to a disruption in the school schedule as many teachers, who had gone to collect the fruit, were unable to return in time to conduct their classes. They said that the teachers who had come from schools that were nearer to the BPEOs offices faced a fewer problems as compared to those teachers who had travelled distances to come collect the consignment of fruits. This, they said, also caused disturbances in the exam schedule.

A number of teachers arrived at the BPEOs offices in the morning to collect the fruit, as per instructions, but they had to wait until 11am for the truck to arrive. They left for their respective schools after collecting the kinnows at around 12:30-1pm, which was too late. The teachers urged the authorities concerned to manage the distribution with predefined schedules to avoid disruptions in classes.

According to sources, the fruits designated for the respective schools of a block arrived at the block-level offices, from where the school staff had to coordinate and transport it to their schools themselves. “Better coordination between BPEOs and school management could have prevented such disruptions. We suggest the fruit should be handed over to the assigned teachers after school and distributed on the following day,” said the group of teachers. They also criticised the government for assigning them with ‘non-teaching tasks’ alongside teaching duties, while the authorities claimed they were only assigning the teachers with teaching duties.

While appreciating the shift to seasonal fruits, the teachers urged further decentralisation of the mid-day meal menu, allowing districts to select menus based on local produce availability.

Meanwhile, Jalandhar DEO Suresh Kumar said Punjab Agro transported the kinnows to the district BPEOs offices. From there, staff were responsible for collecting them for their respective schools. He said he would check why teachers were present during the collection process meant for non-teaching staff, adding that today marked the first day of supplies, and while there were some distribution challenges, they aimed at making the process seamless in the future.

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