Benches not a big issue, we need teachers first: Education minister | punjab$bhatinda | Hindustan Times
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Benches not a big issue, we need teachers first: Education minister

The state government is hiring school teachers on priority basis, while benches in primary schools will be taken care of later, said Punjab education minister Daljit Singh Cheema, here on Thursday.

punjab Updated: Feb 19, 2016 15:15 IST
Atul Nagpal

The state government is hiring school teachers on priority basis, while benches in primary schools will be taken care of later, said Punjab education minister Daljit Singh Cheema, here on Thursday.

However, he did not tell the exact number of teachers being hired by the government.

Cheema admitted that the district had lesser number of teachers, especially science teachers, which affected the teacher-student ratio. When asked if the state government was planning to provide benches in primary schools of the district, he said, “It will be great if the government can provide benches in primary schools, but hiring teachers is its first priority, as of now, and the chief minister, too, shares the same thought.”

It must be mentioned that more than 70% primary schools in the district do not have benches. “That is not a big issue. Even I used to sit on the floor when I was in school. They can sit on mats,” said Cheema, when informed about the output of recent health checkup camp, where most of the students were found to be suffering from cold.

Cheema was in Fatehgarh Sahib to distribute the consent letters with regard to the recently-hiked old age pension in the state from 250 to 500 per month, in a district-level function at the Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College (BBSBEC) auditorium, in Fatehgarh Sahib.

Students forced to sit on cold floor

In a report published by HT on January23, the students of Government Elementary School in Humayunpur area were forced to sit on cold floor, as some of the mats were found to be torn-off. District elementary education officer Surinder Ghai confirmed that more than 70% of primary schools in district were running without benches. Within a week, the education department claimed to have provided `1 lakh grant to each of the block officers of six blocks for buying new mats and other materials to protect the children from cold. Ghai informed that the department had written to ministry of human resource development for help in providing benches to 8,685 students in the district.

3,442 teachers demand regular posts

Members of the union of 3,442 teachers hired on adhoc basis demanded regularisation of their posts and submitted a memorandum for the same to Cheema. The memorandum read that the letter to start the process of regularisation was issued on November 17, last year.

The demands of the teachers include that the teachers hired under the master cadre who had degrees through the distance education should be given leverage in relief from the June 2013 guidelines of University Grants Commission (UGC) and should be made regular with effect from January 15, 2016 and earlier transfers should be made possible.

Cheema slams Congress, AAP

Cheema, while talking to the media, slammed Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) for hiring strategist Prashant Kishore to run the election campaign of Capt Amamrinder Singh. “Hiring companies for getting votes is really inappropriate,” said Cheema. “What option this party was left with when it lost the workers?” Cheema added, while commenting on the Congress workforce.

Meanwhile, the education minister said the Aam Aadmi Party was no competition for the Shiromani Akali Dal. “They haven’t participated in block samiti, council elections or any of the bypolls that took place in Punjab recently. They can manipulate Delhi but not Punjab for sure,” said Cheema.