Who is a shikshamitra?
In 2001, posts of para-teaching staff for government primary schools were opened up, with job of shikshamitras offered to meritorious students. The minimum eligibility criterion was Class 12. We were trained to teach Classes 1 and 2, but because of shortage of staff, we ended up teaching up to Class 5, working as any other fully paid teacher.
What did the Supreme Court say?
The court derecognised 1.72 lakh shikshamitras employed as assistant teachers, making the national Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) mandatory for us to retain our posts. None of us has taken the TET (introduced in 2010). After the RTE Act said untrained teachers shouldn’t teach, the Mayawati government allowed shikshamitras like us to get a Basic Training Certificate (BTC) through distance learning. In 2014-2015, the Akhilesh Yadav government recruited us as assistant teachers on the completion of our BTC.
Why do you object to the TET?
As ‘assistant teachers’, we get Rs 30,000. Now, till we take the TET, we will get the shikshamitra pay of Rs 3,500. This is less than what a labourer earns… Many of the shikshamitras who have been working for 16 years are over 50 years of age. Where will they go now?
But this is only till the TET?
We are not hopeful of clearing the test because it has been years since we took one. We will be competing with students half our age. Also, our Class 12 marks, which will be included in the test’s score, are bound to be less than those of today’s students because the grading system was different then. One relaxation the court has given is that it will count each year of work experience as equivalent to two marks.
What has the state promised?
CM Yogi Adityanath has promised something soon. The government also offered raising salary to Rs 10,000 from Rs 3,500 a month, but it is too little… The Prime Minister assured us support last year at a rally, but nothing happened. sarah hafeez