Govt discusses recruitment policy roll-back, protesting teachers say they were never against policy

Summit Report

GANGTOK, 09 Sept:

Even as the protest by ad-hoc teachers entered its 8th day today, there is no sign of the issue being resolved. With the health of one of the teachers on hunger strike deteriorating, the teachers decided to let another teacher continue the strike on his behalf.

On the other hand, information was apparently “leaked” of a high-level meeting of the Education Department discussing the possible rolling back of the new ad-hoc recruitment policy announced by the government in view of the continued protest by ad-hoc teachers.

On Thursday evening, news surfaced on social media that the state government was thinking of withdrawing the new ad-hoc recruitment policy because of the continued protest by ad-hoc teachers. Following this, Political Secretary to the Chief Minister, Jacob Khaling, met media persons wherein he informed that the news was true and that someone had “leaked” this information.

He said that there indeed was a high-level meeting held today wherein the possible roll-back was discussed.

It may be mentioned that the new ad-hoc teacher recruitment policy announced by the government recently states that ad-hoc teachers will have to sit for a walk-in interview this year following which they will not have to appear for any written exam or interview and will be regularized after 8 years of service. The teachers will also be paid salaries during the winter break.

“We have met almost all their demands. Now they also need to compromise,” he stated.

Speaking to Summit Times, one of the protesting ad-hoc teachers, RikzingNorbu Bhutia, said thatthe protest was never against the policy of the state government to regularize ad-hoc teachers after completing eight years of service. He alleged that some middlemen are trying to weaken the movement by making it seem like this protest is against this policy of the government.

The ongoing protest is on a single-point demand to the government which is to give extension to ad-hoc teachers until the results of the walk-in interview is announced, he clarified.

Mr Bhutia mentioned that during the meeting with the Chief Minister on 08 July earlier this year they had agreed and welcomed this policy decision of the state government.

“Our present agitation is against the delay in carrying out work by the department and not against the recruitment policy of the government. We are only against the delay in conducting the interview,” he clarified.

Mr Bhutia said that the department put off the interview for too long, giving date after date and assurance after assurance.

“Students are our main concern and it is highly likely that this academic session will end before the completion of the entire interview process. This means that students will not be able to finish the syllabus, especially students facing board examinations will have a tough time. So, all we are asking for is extension of our service until the result of the walk-in-interview is announced,” he said.

He also expressed hope that the government would deliver justice to them.

“If the government come up with a solution, we will immediately call-off our protest and disperse,” he said.