A few days after they were relieved from their duties, many contractual school teachers protested outside Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence on Tuesday.
The services of 1,920 such teachers, all employed under the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) scheme, were terminated from March 31 reportedly due to the “non-continuation” of the post by the ministry of human resource development. The government told them that they would be employed as guest teachers instead.
“How will we be accommodated when government schools already have a large number of guest teachers? We will be cast out on the streets,” said Neeraj Kumar, a contractual teacher.
While the contracts of these teachers used to be extended from March 31 to May 10 every year, it was not done this time. Teachers are appointed under the SSA scheme to meet the required teacher student ratio of 1:40, as mandated by the Right to Education Act 2009.
The contracts were not extended because the Delhi government itself sanctioned 9,500 posts to fulfil the teacher-student ratio. “The file for the sanctioned posts has been lying with the lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung. It was sent for his approval a few months ago,” said Atishi Marlena, advisor to education minister Manish Sisodia.
She, however, clarified that the government will retain the affected employees as guest teachers. “We have also said that weightage will be given to these teachers as per their experience and qualification,” said Marlena.
Apart from permanent teachers, Delhi government schools have guest teachers who fill sanctioned posts that are still lying vacant. The government is also said to be working on regularising the services of around 16,000 guest teachers.
“Employment as a guest teacher would mean that we get paid on a daily basis, unlike under the SSA. As there are already so many guest teachers in Delhi government schools, we do not stand a chance,” said Anuj, another contractual teacher.
Contractual teachers are paid around Rs 25,000 a month, whereas a guest teacher gets around Rs15,000.
After protesting at Kejriwal’s residence, around 300 teachers also met Jung. “However, the lieutenant governor told us that he cannot do anything because the final decision lies with the Delhi government,” said Kumar.
Guest teachers had taken out a protest on Sunday to demand regularisation of jobs.