SSA teachers in Arunachal

[Tongam Rina]
Dictionary says that Déjà vu means a feeling of having already experienced the present situation. For teachers working under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), government and the media in the state, the French word sounds more than familiar. For years now, the pattern of protest by the teachers and reaction by the government has been the same.
Yours truly would like to copy paste a portion of an article written in early part of 2012 on the same issue.
“SSA teachers in the state are on an indefinite pen-down/tool down strike demanding regularisation of services at one go of some 550 teachers recruited in 2003. The government, on the other hand has threatened to impose ‘No work, No pay’. Confrontation is inevitable, as both seem reluctant to budge from their respective positions. Needless to say, thousands of students will suffer because of the adamant stand of the teachers and the Education Department”.
2017, the story repeats itself.
Between Nov 6-8, SSA teachers were on Dharna, baring Changlang SSA teachers.
The Changlang branch had gone to the Guahati High Court, Itanagar Permanent Bench for enhancement of salary on the principle of ‘equal pay for equal work’ and for grant of Child Care Leave and other benefits. The government has to respond in the next three months.
The SSA teachers run the schools in rural Arunachal. Without the support of the six thousand plus SSA teachers, the crumbling educational institutions in the state would have collapsed. These teachers have presence in more than three thousand primary and upper primary schools.
Why are SSA teachers, the backbone of school education in the state protesting? All they need is enhancement of salary at per with 7 Central Pay Commission and regularization of jobs.
The demands have been the same over the years and there seems no solution in sight apart from token assurances by the government.
Agreed that recruitment process of many SSA teachers might have been dicey.
In many cases, more than merit, it was recommendation of officers and politicians that mattered in the whole process. But there is no reason; these teachers who have served the state for years should suffer. There has to be a closure. According to current government rules, half of the in service teachers have been trained and therefore they have the requisite qualifications.
If regularization is not possible, these teachers deserve salaries at par with regular government teachers. It is utter discrimination on the part of the state that they expect SSA teachers to work in interior parts of the state without regular salaries or facilities to speak of.
The government has already announced fresh recruitment of teachers while it has been silent on the issue of the SSA teachers who have been demanding regularization of their jobs. One cannot expect these teachers to hang on to uncertainties. In addition to fresh recruitment of teachers, SSA teachers have to be accommodated too since most of them have the required experience, degrees and diplomas. It is about time that future of these teachers and students become a priority. Instead of threatening action against the striking teachers, in the meantime, government should certainly introspect on pay disparity and lack of maternity leave among other facilities. After a point, assurances, fake or genuine does not make sense unless it is followed by action.