Over 200 teachers posted in Bihar under the Central government’s Technical Educational Quality Improvement Programme (TEQIP) have been sitting on dharna since September 4 demanding extension of their three-year contract that comes to an end on 30 September. TEQIP, a joint project of the Union Education Ministry (previous HRD Ministry) and World Bank, has been running in 12 states and union territories.
All 205 teachers employed with seven engineering colleges of Bihar have stopped conducting online classes and also discontinued their projects. “Since we are not getting any word either from the state or from the Central government, we are exercising our democratic rights of staying away from work,” said a teacher requesting anonymity.
The Education Ministry had written in the first week of August to all these states and UTs asking for their sustainability plan. The Centre’s letter also reminded these states and UTs about their MoU with the ministry. The MoU had said, “Such funding will be based on an understanding with the state governments that well-performing faculty hired using project funds will be retained post project, or else unchanged, and any of these faculty retained, will be paid exclusively from state fund”.
Bihar science and technology department principal secretary Brijesh Mehrotra told The Indian Express: “We are preparing our answers to the ministry letter and also want to know what other states are doing. We know there was an MoU but it is not binding on us”.
He, however, said he had no knowledge of TEQIP teachers’ protest. “This is not the way they should react. We have not got any notice from them. We are trying to do our best for them. We have given them weightage of 15 marks for assistant professors’ vacancies through the Bihar Public Service Commission. There are also reservation issues to resolve if their contract has to be extended”, said Mehrotra.
The latest iteration of TEQIP was implemented in Bihar in 2017 with an aim to improve the quality of technical education across the state.
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