School teachers in Meghalaya on Friday decided to intensify their stir by calling a 14-day strike from August 22 to September 4 in protest against the state government’s delay to provincialise the services of 14,000 teachers. The decision was taken at a rally sponsored by the Joint Action Committee of All Teachers’ Associations of Meghalaya (JACATAM) and attended by teachers from Khasi-Jaintia and Garo Hills at the Iewrynghep ground here.
“We have decided to call for a general strike from August 22 to September 4, in which no teachers will attend schools,” JACATAM chairman E D Nongsiang said. He said the teachers had to resort to this protest as the state government had pushed them to the wall.
Earlier, the teachers had also staged a three-day statewide dharnas against the attitude of the state government towards their demand. The umbrella JACATAM has been demanding for the past three years for provincialisation of services of over 14,000 teachers working in 4,500 government aided schools under ad hoc, deficit system and deficit pattern.
The demand also assumes significance after the Directorate of Schools Education and Literacy (DSEL) had submitted the proposal for provincialisation of teachers’ services to the state government on February 29 earlier this year. Hitting out at the state government, Nongsiang said “If the government says it has no money for provincialising the teachers services then from where it gets so much money to organise festivals every now and then… why is it for teachers it has no money?”
Echoing similar views, JACATAM secretary of the Action Committee in Garo Hills Elvis Marak claimed that the Assam government had completed provincialising the services of over 98,000 teachers working in privately run schools.
“If Assam can do it, why not Meghalaya, which is having only 14,000 teachers,” he said.
Deputy chief minister in-charge education R C Laloo has maintained that the state government would only take a call on the demand after consulting with various school managing committees.