The Delhi Cabinet Wednesday decided to adopt a policy enabling guest and contract teachers in Delhi government schools to continue working uninterrupted till the age of 60.
This came after a five-day protest by thousands of guest teachers, who were left unemployed after their contracts ended on February 28, outside Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s house.
The services of 22,000 guest teachers — close to 40 per cent of the teaching strength of Delhi government schools — had been discontinued.
Announcing the decision in the afternoon, Sisodia, who is also the Education Minister, said he was going to Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal to get a final approval for the policy. In the evening, he told The Indian Express that the L-G said he would consider the policy after taking legal opinion.
While somewhat relieved by the decision, teachers said they will continue with the protest till the policy receives a nod from the L-G.
In an emergency meeting held on Wednesday afternoon, the Cabinet cleared the policy which laid down three conditions for the services of guest teachers. The primary condition is that guest teachers “shall continue to function with the Directorate of Education (DoE) till they attain the age of superannuation as determined by the government for its regular teachers” — which is 60 years in Delhi.
This has been the primary demand of the teachers during the course of their protest, in which they have been demonstrating against the insecurity of their jobs as their contracts are periodically extended by a few months at a time.
The Cabinet also approved that monthly remuneration of guest teachers shall incorporate similar proportion of dearness allowance as regular teachers, and that the same Conduct Rules as regular teachers will apply to the conduct and performance of guest teachers.
Meanwhile, an application has been filed by the DoE in the High Court for continuation of services of guest teachers till regular teachers are appointed.
However, the hearing has been scheduled for March 29. As a result, schools are struggling with almost half their teaching and administrative staff gone in the midst of the exam season.
The department Wednesday issued an order stating that guest teachers shall continue working till the date of the hearing. However, the protesting teachers were not enthused.
“This order has nothing to do with our needs and only seeks to use us to solve their own problems. It states nothing about our pay and offers us nothing. We are protesting to do away with this ‘extension system’,” said a teacher, asserting that they would not report to schools on the behest of the order and would await the policy’s approval.