January 7, 2009 12:35:45 am
The 12-point demand charter put forward by the Gujarat State Primary Teachers Federation at its meeting on Sunday is likely to get a ‘go-ahead’ in full,hinted Education Minister Ramanlal Vora. He told Newsline: “All demands put forward by the Federation were discussed in a meeting held last month. We have been considering the demands and also had a discussion with the Federation. I cannot specify the time but the approval is in the process.”
While the minister did not project any date for the approval,he said the 12- point demands are a slimmed-down version of the demand charter that had been put forward at the meeting last month from among many other demands. With the approval,the primary education scenario will be up for a major overhaul.
With the increase in salary of the Vidya Sahayaks,which happens to be one of the key demands,the long-standing grudge of being exploited will subside. The demand is to increase the salary of the Vidya Sahayaks from Rs 2,500 to Rs 5,000 per month as well as reducing the contract period (before becoming permanent) from 5 years to 2-and-a-half years. Recognising the fact that the present salary offered to the Vidya Sahayaks amounts to their exploitation,the minister confirmed that solving the issue is first on the agenda.
The Federation demanded an increase in the number of primary teachers to match the required student-teacher ratio. The present shortage has increased the workload on each teacher.
Benefits for teachers like housing facility for those who teach in the backward areas and free education to their children can boost the morale of the teachers and end the reluctance in them to take up jobs in the interior areas. At present,encashing of LTC (Leave Travel Concession) is not allowed and the teachers have demanded this privilege,as many are unable to avail leave.
Another demand that has been put forward is to remove the limit on bus travel as per distance covered by the Best Teacher Award winners. At present,the state government allows fare of 2,500 kilometres per year for 12 teachers selected under the category. Teachers in the rural areas who are unable to appear for computer exams,which is mandatory at present for getting a job,demanded removal of the mandate on computer training,as it is inaccessible in many rural areas.
Yet another demand is to raise the participation of women in the Federation from the present 30 per cent to 50 per cent. While all of these demands would be approved in due time,some of the long pending issues of primary school teachers will most likely be addressed with the approval.
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