NOIDA- It’s been three weeks now that the protest of thousands of Punjab schoolteachers is going on with the same intensity in CM Amarinder Singh’s hometown i.e. Patiala. The hoard of schoolteachers is demanding for their permanent jobs with full remuneration. Government had earlier presented a proposal for regularizing their contractual jobs but with a significant cut in their existing salaries, which was completely denied by the teachers working on contract basis. The frequent warnings of strict disciplinary and legal actions are not effective enough to break this agitation by the teachers.
The centrally-sponsored Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Adarsh and Model Schools as well as Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) appointed 8,886 teachers on a contract basis. The Congress Party mentioned about the regularization of these teachers in their manifesto with resolving all remuneration-related discrepancies. However, the government later on never concentrated on this matter. On October 3, the state cabinet reached a conclusion with regularizing their services with a per month salary of ₹10,300 with grade pay of ₹5,000 as addition for first three years. This proposal was instantly rejected by them and they start their agitation under the flagship of Sanjha Adhyapak Morcha (SAM), which is central union constituted in Patiala by 26 teacher unions on October 7. The protesters got the company of another 5,178 teachers who were recruited in 2014 under the Pendu Sahyogi Teacher Scheme.
Why they denied Govt.’s proposal?
7,356 contractual teachers were recruited under the SSA, 1,194 under the RMSA, 116 for Adarsh Schools and 220 for model schools. Their current remuneration is ₹42,300 or more per month and the pay offered by government including grade pay is ₹15,300 per month. It’s a massive cut- this is an undeniable fact. They had left their much more lucrative jobs from private schools for government teacher position. They find the proposal as injustice with them as well as their families.
Government’s take on this
As per the government officials, the teachers were recruited on contract basis to improve the teacher student ratio within the classroom. Despite they are teaching in the government schools but not as the employees of state government. Over 6000 schoolteachers have qualified the teacher eligibility test and succeeded in attaining the regular jobs through frequent recruitment process and rest are continuing on the basis of their contract. They were recruited by the society and regularizing them is beyond the control of the department. Despite the regularization case of 5,178 has been sent for departmental approval and it will be forwarded to state cabinet.
After the denial of teachers for the terms offered by the department for regularization of their job, the government has clearly said that either work on regularization terms or continue working on contract basis with the same salary. The department has also started an online portal where they can cast their choice.