Friday, December 2, 2022

Curriculum for progress

Over the decades, employees of several departments have held protests over non-payment of salaries and this itself is a sad reflection of the lack of a system that delivers. Employees are deemed legitimate when they are issued with appointment orders after which it is the responsibility of the government to ensure they are paid as per the post they hold. The department of school education has been gripped by a spate of protests by teachers under various categories demanding salaries and wages. Teachers appointed under Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) in Nagaland and under the school education department have been agitating over salaries. It may be recalled that in 2017 the Nagaland RMSA Teachers Association (NRMSATA) and the All Nagaland Hindi Teachers’ Union (ANHTU) reminded the state government over their respective demands. The NRMSATA had demanded clearing of seniority list of teachers under SSA of 2010 and RMSA of 2013. The Hindi Teachers are demanding release of salary pending over four months. The government’s explanation was that the Centre had decided to withhold funds as most of the teachers were not deemed qualified. However the affected teachers under ANHTU said 1,379 were appointed during 2012 as they were deemed to have fulfilled the criteria for appointment as Hindi teachers. It appears that the rules were changed midway during 2017 when the Centre adopted new norms under National Council for Teachers’ Education(NCTE). In order to enable the present Hindi Teachers fulfil the criteria, the government has given a five-year relaxation (2022-2027) for the untrained teachers to undergo training. However, as per ANHTU, though many Hindi Teachers were trained during the past ten years, they have not been deemed to be eligible. The government’s contention that the Centre withheld release of fund for payment of salaries to the Hindi teachers in Nagaland needs more clarification. Being the state where the teachers were appointed and carrying out their tasks, the state government cannot wash its hands off. Rather the state government has a moral obligation to ensure that the contract with the Hindi teachers is fulfilled. In this regard, the state government has every reason and justification to press the Centre for release of funds. The Centre cannot act arbitrarily without consulting the state government. On its part, the state government has to ensure that the teachers have been given sufficient opportunity and time to meet the eligibility criteria. It is not the first time that the education department has been faced with problems from its employees. This only leads the conclusion that such matters with regard to service matters and related issues have not been handled effectively. It may be recalled that the department was wracked by the appointment or bogus teachers scam that broke out in 2010. The scam was unearthed when the department sought to ascertain why over Rs. 24 crore was drained out annually from the state exchequer for paying salaries. The SIT formed to conduct the probe, confirmed that as many as 1,156 bogus teachers and 1,096 cases of appointments were made under “doubtful circumstances”. Moreover, as many as 1,084 teachers were physically unavailable for verification when called by the SIT. These are enough to realise that the department is in dire need for a revamp as it plays a crucial role for the upcoming generation.

Previous article
Next article
Must Read