BHUBANESWAR: A sizeable section of primary school teachers in Odisha has decided to hit the streets protesting State Government’s ‘apathy’ towards them.
With many primary schools reeling under shortage of teachers, the existing ones are having to deal with extra work and other problems. Apart from trained teachers, there is shortage of headmasters. Sources said of over 50,000 primary schools in the State, around 21,000 do not have headmasters. Besides, there are many schools which run with a single teacher in districts like Ganjam, Mayurbhanj Cuttack, Balangir, Keonjhar, Bargarh and Jajpur.
The situation is worsening as these teachers are yet to get their revised salaries as per the Sixth Pay Commission.
Even as the issues have been taken up with the State Government several times in the past, it is alleged that precious little has been done to address them.
Protesting the state of affairs, the teachers, under the aegis of All Utkal Primary School Federation, have decided to stage an agitation in the city on Friday. They have prepared an 11-point charter of demands to be presented to the State Government on the day.
Association president Bijaya Bisoi said even village-level workers (VLWs) are being paid more than primary school teachers in the State.
“After the Fifth Pay Commission, the salary of VLWs was made ` 9,300 whereas we got just ` 5,200 with a grade pay of ` 1,900,” he said.
As per the Sixth Pay Commission, the primary teachers are demanding ` 9,300 with a Grade pay of `4,200.
“Even the peons are getting just ` 200 less than our salaries. This is humiliating and demoralising for the teachers,” Bisoi said.
Besides the pay hike and appointment of teachers and headmasters, the association is demanding enhancement of age of retirement to 60. The association has also wanted the Sikshya Sahayaks who become eligible for regular primary school teacher posts under zilla parishad after having completed six years of ‘continuous and satisfactory’ service, be included under the elementary cadre.
“As many as 25,000 primary school teachers would stage a rally on Friday and if the officials concerned do not pay heed to our demands, we would intensify our strike,” Bisoi said.