Over 10,000 Tripura government teachers, facing termination of jobs due to a court verdict, would hold a sit-in demonstration in Delhi later this month aimed at creating alternative arrangements to protect their jobs, a leader of the teacher’s body said on Wednesday.
All Tripura 10,323 Ad-hoc Teachers’ Association president Bimal Saha said so far 43 teachers had “died of psychological trauma and anxiety”.
He said the teachers, both men and women, would hold a ‘dharna’ in Jantar Mantar in New Delhi later this month or early February demanding continuation of their jobs by the Tripura government.
Over 10,323 government teachers with graduate, post-graduate and under-graduate educational qualifications were inducted into Tripura government schools in different phases since 2010 when the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led Left Front government was in power.
The recruitment process subsequently went to litigation and the Tripura High Court in 2014 terminated all the 10,323 teachers, saying that the selection criterion had ‘discrepancies’.
Thereafter, special leave petitions were filed in the Supreme Court by the then Left Front government and a section of teachers, and the apex court upheld the High Court verdict on March 29, 2017.
Following an appeal by the previous Left Front government, the apex court extended their services up to June last year.
After coming to power in March last year, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government had filed a fresh appeal in the Supreme Court In June last year, the Court granted them one-time final extension of their services till March 2020.
An official of the Education Department said that though a few hundred of these teachers have been absorbed in other government positions and through separate recruitment processes, including Teachers Eligibility Tests (TET), the majority of them face job losses.
The Ad-hoc Teachers’ Association president said that they had met the education minister Ratan Lal Nath and other Education Department officials and have held agitations on a number of occasions to protect their jobs, but all efforts have failed.
“As a last resort, we have sought appointment with the Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb to make a final request to him to save our government services. However, we are yet to get the Chief Minister’s appointment,” Saha told mediapersons.
Prior to the 2018 Tripura assembly elections, these teachers had hoped that the ruling BJP would find a permanent solution for the 10,323 government teachers.
There are around 12,000 vacant posts of teachers in the government schools in Tripura. Currently, 41, 000 teachers are providing education to 7.29 lakh students in 4,928 government schools. According to the Right of the Child to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, and the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) guidelines, Teachers Eligibility Test (TET) is mandatory for recruitment of teachers in government schools.
To appear for the TET, the candidate ought to have 50 per cent marks in certain subjects and a Bachelor’s degree or Diploma in Elementary Education or Diploma in Education.
The HRD Ministry had earlier relaxed the minimum qualification norms for teachers, as notified by the NCTE, for Assam, West Bengal and Tripura.
Teachers’ recruitment and termination of their jobs by the courts was a key political issue ahead of the February 2018 Tripura assembly polls.