Updated: February 18, 2019 11:39:53 pm
Teachers serving under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) in Manipur Monday abstained from their duties and staged a sit-in at zonal education department offices across the state even as higher secondary school examinations commenced.
The Council of Higher Secondary Education Manipur (COHSEM), which is conducting the secondary examination, felt the pinch of the strike on the first day of the examination.
Altogether 28,945 students including 7,553 in Arts stream, 20,728 in Science stream and 664 in Commerce stream are appearing for the HSE 2019 at 100 exam centres. The exams will continue till March 20.
To oversee the conduct of the examinations, COHSEM formed 100 teams of flying squads comprising three members in each team. The flying squads would reach their respective exam centres 30 minutes before the commencement of exam. As for some sensitive exam centres, special task forces have been already constituted. The flying squads are mostly made up of SSA and RMSA teachers.
The teacher’s agitation has resulted in the shortage of manpower, particularly flying squads, who are to oversee the conduct of the examinations across the 100 centres.
Ph Mantri, controller of examinations COHSEM said, although the shortage of teachers is not hampering the examination, the COHSEM officials are having a hard time in management.
“We had to engage council staff to fill in the gaps yet we are not being to do so. We are doing all that we can to conduct the exam smoothly. But we are being pushed to the limit,” said Ph Mantri.
He appealed to the Government to come to terms with the agitating teachers, which will be in everyone’s interests, including those who are bearing the brunt of the strike.
The Joint SSA and RMSA Teachers’ Association launched its cease work strike on February 4 locking down the education department (schools) office building as they demanded a permanent solution to the irregular release of their salaries and to create facilities for promotion.
M Khogendra Singh, executive member of the association said, “Manipur government should immediately act to fulfil our demand to facilitate us like other regular employees as we were recruited as regular teachers.”
According to the teachers association, there are 990 teachers under RMSA who were recruited during 2011-2016, and there are 2,460 teachers under SSA who were appointed during 2012-2016.
These SSA and RMSA teachers receive their salaries only for two or three months in a year while promotion facilities are not provided to them at all.
“Our salaries have been pending for 7-8 months now. We have been facing various problems in running our families. Sometimes we even struggled to meet the transport cost of going to schools,” Singh added.
Placards and banners reading ‘No pay no work’, ‘Stop discriminating RMSA and SSA teachers’, ‘Don’t give false promises, we too have families’, ‘Don’t betray the builders of the nation’ were displayed during the protest.
The teachers’ associations have been demanding to absorb them in the education department as a policy of the Government of Manipur to do away with long-pending problems of the teachers.
On January 28, the association had submitted a memorandum, containing the charter of demands, to Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh and provided copies to the education minister, education commissioner and its director.
The association had cautioned the authority to fulfill the demands by February 2, failing which the teachers would resort to taking up several forms of agitations.
The teachers’ association had also appealed to the chief electoral officer to exempt all the RMSA and SSA teachers from their duties if the government failed to fulfil the demands.
The strike is likely to give some impact to the Class XI examinations due to begin from February 20.