Even as the Punjab government issues almost 8,000 appointment letters to new teachers, nearly 2,500 out of these are the ones who will be shifting from Sarva Siksha Abhiyaan (SSA) and Rashtriya Madhyamik Siksha Abhiyaan (RMSA) to regular jobs of the Punjab State Education Board (PSEB). Surprisingly, they have been told to deposit three months’ salary before switching to regular jobs, even though these teachers are working within the same department.
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This notification has left teachers confused as to whether they should take up the regular job or not. “When teachers were being inducted under SSA-RMSA at the fag end of 2008, there was a clause saying that employees need to deposit there three months salary in case they shift from SSA or RMSA to master cadre or any another cadre of PSEB. However, the clause was removed later. This notification was again re-issued last month which has left us confused,” said Ram Bhajan Chaudhary, president of SSA-RMSA teachers union Punjab.
He further claimed that if they follow the notification then they will be at a loss. “After depositing three months salary, the teachers who will be seeking a regular job will be paid Rs 10,400 only for three years and later they will be paid the full scale of PSEB. This will be a huge loss for us as teachers are already being Rs 40,000 plus salaries under the SSA-RMSA. At least the clause of depositing three months salary should be lifted,” he said.
With many preferring a regular job over a contractual one under the SSA-RMSA over 1,000 teachers have deposited their money have even joined at lesser salaries in PSEB. Hence, teachers, being paid more than Rs 40,000 per month have joined at a salary of Rs 10,400 per month.
When asked as to why teachers are ready to take a job at a lower salary, Chaudhary said, “Job security is a major issue as nearly 11,000 teachers are working under the SSA-RMSA. But since the job is contractual, they want to switch to a regular job as they will get all the benefits which other regular employees are getting after three years.”
Sharing more information about the issue, Ravinder Kler, general secretary of this union said,”We had a meeting with Education Minister Daljeet Cheema on November 15 and later with CM Parkash Singh Badal on November 27 where we discussed this issue, but we have not been given any clarification. Though they have announced that contractual employees will be regularised, but so far no notification has been given till now. Under SSA-RMSA we get Rs 40,000 plus for a master cadre teacher while it is Rs 50,000 plus for employees working under PSEB. So there is a disparity of salaries and moreover we are on contract. If we are regularised, we will not be keen to shift from SSA/ RMSA to PSEB.”
It needs to be mentioned that recruitment of SSA-RMSA teachers was done under the HRD department from 2008 and recruitment continued till 2013. It is a centre-funded scheme. Beant and Sarvdeep Singh were part of the panel which met the CM said,”We also want the police cases filed against 250 teachers quashed. They were booked while they were staging protests in Bathinda, Ropar and few other places. They cannot get better opportunities till the time the police cases are not quashed.”
However, Education Minister Daljeet Cheema, when contacted, said,”I feel that SSA-RMSA teachers should not be asked to deposit three months salary as they are shifting from one department to another. And we have already passed in the cabinet to regularise them and notification will be out soon. But still if anyone wants to join the regular jobs of PSEB, it is their own wish. I will seek clarification from concerned officials regarding deposition of the salary.”
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