Over the past few days the nation is passing through a phase of uproar over the benevolent midday meal scheme of the government meant for ensuring education and providing nutrition among the underprivileged children. The recent cases of death and illness of schoolchildren owing to the consumption of adulterated meals has created much furore forcing us to question the credibility of those associated with the scheme. To arrest the falling trustworthiness of the scheme, state government and school authorities have come with various plans to ensure the quality and state of the meals.
Let the teacher do the job
In a majority of the cases, various authorities have devised a simple yet outlandish way to ensure the food quality of the meals. They have appointed the most commonly found people to be present in the arena where the meals are served i.e. the teachers. As strange as it seems, the fact that teachers have been appointed with the duties of supervising the cooking and distribution of meals is absolutely unethical in many eyes. The teachers will look after the entire cooking procedure to ensure that the food is neither adulterated by any means nor rendered unfit for consumption. Shockingly in some cases the teachers have been advised to consume the meal themselves first in order to prove the genuineness of the meal.
Ethical credibility of the treatment
The step to force teachers into supervising meals and ensuring food quality of midday meals is in no way right in terms of both ethics and decorum. The manner in which the teaching class has been deployed in this job against their actual job protocol is creating waves of angst and dissent among them. Commoners as well as experts are of the opinion that the burden of any government scheme should never lie on the shoulders of a teacher especially when the scheme is not directly associated with the curriculum or the teaching procedures of the school. Questions are thus propping up from all corners of the country as to whether the government wants to use teachers as their legal servants and make them do any job since they are being paid by the government.
The plight of the teachers
The teachers are much ashamed and humiliated with the treatment meted out to them from the authorities. The general feeling among the teaching masses is that they are being treated as bonded labourers who are acting against their job protocol. The lowly acts of food testing are frivolous acts which bring much humiliation for the teachers. The Supreme Court too has felt this to be unethical in all respects and ordered that teachers should only teach and need not mind the affairs of the midday meal. The government must take responsibility to carry out the scheme effectively without troubling the teachers.
The future of the midday meal scheme
The midday meal scheme has always been lauded for its visionary idea. The only lagging factor has been its fruitful implementation. The government must ensure this by allocating more money for the scheme in order to recruit more people specialized to supervise the meals being provided in schools. The scheme is a positive milestone in the history of Indian education and child planning but it must never be realized at the cost of the prestige and effort of the teachers.