Victimized section of society Thy name is Rehbar-e-Taleem Teacher


Mushtaq Bhat

Education is the powerful weapon which can change the future of any nation. The process is aimed at socializing and humanizing individual citizen through his life from birth to death. However, it should also be remembered that education can’t be acquired if it’s not sought and received through the help of a teacher. That’s why everyone should put efforts into seeking as much knowledge as possible and appreciate the teachers’ importance in guiding us and the generations to come to become Knowledgeable and morally upright. I am quoting Mrs Indira Gandhi who said, “Nation’s wellbeing depends on teachers wellbeing and our teachers are the custodian of our future. ” But sadly this isn’t the case anymore, at least not in this region of world where a section of teachers then called SSA and now Grade-2, Grade-3 teachers are being discriminated and undervalued by the successive regimes. These teachers were engaged under SSA flagship program which was not meant to eradicate unemployment in the UT of J&K but to provide education to all especially marginalised sections of the society. As per the scheme a teacher was to be appointed on a meager amount of Rs.1500 -2000 on contractual basis for a period of 5 years and was promised to be considered at par with Regular teachers after completion of these five years. Many young, energetic and qualified youth availed the opportunity without knowing it’s future consequences and thus became victimized due to flawed decision and administrative processes. Initially they faced multiple issues including regularisation etc but were hoping that everything would get alright with the passage of time. However the hope dissipated and disappointed them when a drama about a circular asked these teachers to take some screening tests to prove their worth. The move was in contradiction to the Govt’s self formulated criteria through which these were inducted on merit basis. Even the pathetic state of affairs led to the denial of their salaries for which they were forced to go on indefinite hunger strike of more than twenty days in order to get their legitimate demand of streamlining monthly salaries and Govt’s apathy over it’s earlier promise of considering them at par with regular teachers after completion of their 05 years contractual period. Consequently, they got a sigh of relief by streamlining their salaries but in the same time they were renamed as Grade-2 & Grade-3 Teachers. Ironically, even after passing two years some of them are still waiting and the department has failed to complete the 100% conversion of these Grade-2 and Grade-3 teachers. In fact these teachers have dedicated the prime of their life in rendering services to the department in different capacities like BLO, Election duty, Census, examination, super 50, winter tutorials and even when the department faces dire need of lecturers or teachers for higher levels, this shortage is compensated by the same erstwhile SSA teacher. In addition to it, these teachers have opened schools in remote and far flung areas. So one could imagine the scenario of education without these teachers. Obviously, it will be dark and barren. Thus targeting only one section on one after other pretext is sheer humiliation and challenges the credibility of this section. These teachers are being discriminated to the extent that they have been debarred from transfer policy which leads to many mental and social difficulties for them and a vested interest may get developed if a person is placed at a particular place for a long. Although when people with helm of affairs received these legitimate grievances, they keept on telling they will do something about it but the situation remains the same. Teacher discrimination has always witnessed downfall of academic performance and one can’t deny the fact that teachers psychological well-being is important in the system of teaching and learning. So it’s high time for the policy makers of the education department to come up with a single cadre of teachers rather than multiple types of staff performing the same work. It will definitely bring a revolution and improvement in the derailed system.