College teachers end protest in Maharashtra, to start assessing HSC answer sheets
The state government accepted some of its long-standing demands, most of them relating to the service conditions of teachersUpdated: Mar 06, 2018 00:34 IST
In a relief to students taking Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examination, around 72,000 teachers from junior colleges ended their boycott of paper assessment on Monday.
The Maharashtra Federation of Junior College Teachers' Organisations (MFJCTO), which represents these teachers, decided to start the assessment work after the state government accepted some of its long-standing demands, most of them relating to the service conditions of teachers, and assured to take a decision soon regarding some other demands. The federation said that the results of HSC examination will be declared on time.
The state education board is also hopeful of timely results. “With the teachers withdrawing their boycott, there’s no cause of concern,” said KB Patil, secretary, Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education.
Over 3,30,000 students are appearing for the exam from Mumbai division, which consists of Mumbai, Thane, Raigad and Palghar districts, this year. The education board has not released data on the number of candidates from Maharashtra. Last year, 1.5 million students from the state appeared for the exam.
The assessment of HSC papers is expected to begin along with the examination, which started on February 21. However, for the last five years, the federation has been protesting during board exams to pressurise the government into accepting its demands. Last year, the teachers corrected only one answer sheet per day for around 15 days after the exams began.
The state government has decided to pay the dues of teachers and non-teaching staff as per the sixth pay commission and release Rs1,312 crore towards their retirement benefits. The government also said that the teachers won't be assigned any 'non-educational' work. Other demands of the teachers accepted by the government include providing grants for information technology (IT) subject and starting a ‘cashless’ system for medical reimbursements.
Education minister Vinod Tawde said that the fate of some other demands, that have financial implications, will be decided in consultation with the finance minister after the state budget. These include making the administration of junior colleges autonomous, cancelling the 'shikshan sevak' scheme, providing free education to the teachers' children and increasing the retirement age to 60.
The federation has however threatened to renew its protest if the government does not accept its remaining demands, even as teachers will continue assessing the papers. “If the orders of the decisions made in the March 10 meeting with the finance minister are not issued within 10 days, we will stage an indefinite hunger strike in front of Mantralaya. However, in the interest of the students, the paper assessment will go on,” said Anil Deshmukh, president, MFJCTO.