Scores of Adhyapaks (contractual teachers) on the third day of their indefinite strike, staged demonstration at the Krishnapura Chattris and organised “Shahi Bhoj” on Wednesday. Around 1.75 lakh Adhyapaks across the state ignored the state government notice for disciplinary action and decided to extend their strike for an indefinite period.
The protesting Adhyapaks gathered from various parts of the district and raised slogans and served “Shahi Bhoj” that included bread made up of grass, sabji made up of leaves and rice and dal containing gravels. They also served Ladoo made up of soil.
The government cracked the whip on teachers by declaring the strike illegal. The commissioner, public instructions, has directed all the collectors to ensure necessary action in this regard.
He said disciplinary action will be taken against the teachers. Directives have also been given to avail services of regular and guest teachers to ensure that studies are not disturbed in schools. Instructions have been given not to sanction leave to the teachers who remain absent from schools during this period.
When contacted, the district education officer Sanjay Goyal said the department has issued show cause notice to the striking teachers in the district and relevant action will be taken against them only after hearing their side.
Bharat Bhargava, coordinator of the Adhyapak Samvida Shikshak Sanyukta Morcha, said that the demonstrations are a part of six-day agitation by the teachers. ‘Through the Shahi Bhoj we wanted to convey our message to state government how we are surviving on such meagre salary’, he said.
‘If you look at the Samvida Shikshaks monthly salary, it is around Rs. 5,000 a month, while others with same qualification but with permanent jobs earn Rs. 25,000 - 30,000 per month.
Our protest is against the double standards,’ said Bhargava. ‘The government did not pay any heed to two major demands while we were continuously submitting memorandum for it,’ he added.
Notably, the teachers have been staging a series of protests since December last year. Responding to the protests, the State government had announced a raise in the salaries of the contract teachers in January.
However, the teachers rejected to accept the announcement and declared to stick to the series of protests they had declared earlier. Apart from demonstrations and lockouts, the teachers have also declared to boycott exams in case their demands are not accepted.
The agitating teachers are demanding that following the principle of ‘equal pay for equal work’ they should be given salaries equivalent to the permanent teachers appointed by the school education department.
Besides, the teachers are also demanding that they should be merged in the school education department. At present, the teachers are appointed by various departments including the local bodies and the tribal welfare department. The teachers alleged that this has led the government to discriminate between the teachers despite the fact that they perform tasks equal to the permanent teachers.