SIX TEACHERS from across the state have said they would return their state awards/ appreciation letters in order to extend support to the protesting teachers of Sarv Siksha Abhiyaan (SSA) and Rashtriya Madhyamik Siksha Abhiyaan (RMSA) who are on hunger strike since October 7 in Patiala and even are organising protest rallies across the state.
The teachers are Devi Dayal, maths teacher teaching at Government Senior Secondary School, Banera village in Sangrur, Pardeep Kumar Rattoke from Government Primary School, Rattoke village of Sangrur, Paramjeet Singh Ramgarhia from Bathinda, Gurpreet Kaur, Punjab lecturer of Government Senior Secondary School, Ghuman Kalan, Bathinda, Avtar Jangaria, Hoshairpur and Rakesh Kamboj from Fazilka.
Devi Dayal said, “Though I am on the regular rolls of the department since 2001, I have decided to return state award I got in 2015 for my services in teaching sector as I cannot see injustice being done to the teachers. They are being forced to sit on hunger strike and even their salaries have been reduced. So I am expressing my solidarity with them. I will be visiting DEO office on Monday to return this award and Rs 10,000.”
Nearly 9,000 teachers working under SSA-RMSA have been regularised by the Punjab government but they will be getting Rs 15,000 per month salary for the first three years and later they will get all perks. Though teachers under SSA-RMSA were on contract and working for the past 10 years, but as of now most of them were getting lump-sum salary of Rs 42,800 which used to be revised every year. A sudden dip in salary has not gone down well with teachers.
However this is not a new practice as it was being implemented even in the past as well in SAD-BJP rule, but this time it has been implemented en masse and hence protest has started.
Pardeep Kumar Rattoke had got an appreciation letter from the state government as well as district education officer (DEO), Sangrur. Rattoke told The Sunday Express said, “I have returned the appreciation given by the DEO as I am also one of the affected persons in this policy.” Rattoke’s school had been in the limelight for outstanding results.
Avtar from Hoshiarpur has also returned his (state level) appreciation letter. It was Paramjeet Singh Ramgarhia who set the ball rolling on this drive. He is an arts and craft teacher on regular rolls while Rakesh Kamboj and Gurpreet Kaur, who are also on regular rolls also said they would returning awards to express solidarity with the protesting teachers, they said.