Students go online to back teachers | india | Hindustan Times
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Students go online to back teachers

Thousands of striking college teachers have received support from unexpected quarters: their own students. Instead of savouring their liberation from the classroom, five Mumbai students have launched an online and radio campaign in support of the striking teachers – a campaign that has already attracted the support of hundreds of other students.

india Updated: Jul 18, 2009 01:03 IST

Thousands of striking college teachers have received support from unexpected quarters: their own students. Instead of savouring their liberation from the classroom, five Mumbai students have launched an online and radio campaign in support of the striking teachers – a campaign that has already attracted the support of hundreds of other students.

“Teachers are one of the most underpaid professionals in this country,” said 20-year-old Yogini Bhanushali, one of the five students who initiated the ‘Save Our Teachers’ campaign on Facebook and Orkut, popular social networking sites, last Sunday, two days before the strike began. “They deserve better. We are also losing out on lectures.”

About 30,000 teachers from degree colleges affiliated to one of the state’s 11 universities went on strike on 14 July, demanding that the state government implement the Sixth Pay Commission’s recommendation to increase their pay.

These students said they did not plan to go out on the streets, but were rallying for the teachers from behind the scenes. For instance, they are urging other students not to allow the government to play them and their parents against the striking teachers.

These students have also spoken about the strike during a three-hour interview on Radio Mirchi, during which they sought support from other students.

They also managed to get Radio One, Red FM and Radio City to mention the links to their campaign on the social networking sites.

“We now plan to take this movement around the state,” said Neha Karmarkar, the campaign’s co-founder. “We have contacts ready in Pune, Ahmednagar and Nashik.”

Not all responses have been supportive but the students said the debate has been civil.

“Some students treat this period as free holidays,” said Samantha Kothare, another co-founder. “But we are trying our best to get them to see how important this pay revision is.”