Traversing 15 years, journey on with gleam hope

Traversing 15 years, journey on with gleam hope

Sanjay MOSING

ITANAGAR, Aug 9: Fifteen year ago, when Tatam (name changed) from remote Upper Siang district joined the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), a Government of India’s flagship programme for achievement of universalization of elementary education, as an Assistant Teacher on a contract basis, he had only one goal in his mind that he would do everything to make the government’s mission of ‘education for all’ a grand success.

Soon after his graduation in October 2003, he got the job in SSA and joined the state’s SSA mission. He was on cloud nine the day he received his appointment letter. His dream of becoming a teacher was fulfilled. Since then he has been working sincerely rendering his service as a teacher. He never applied for any other job either in government or private sector as he had no time and options because he was serving in the state’s very remote and isolated places where no newspapers or any other media ever reach on time.

Fifteen years later, Tatam’s passion for teaching and contributing towards government seems losing the zeal and steam as well.

For the last two days, Tatam is one among those thousands of SSA teachers, who are staging peaceful dharna at Tennis Court near Indira Gandhi Park, Itanagar, pressing demand for phase-wise job regularization and salary at par with that of regular teachers.

“We work equally hard and teach students ensuring quality education at elementary level like regular teachers. Many of us even walk miles every day to reach schools as several are located in remote areas. We get a meagre monthly remuneration of Rs 26000 per month while regular teachers receive 50000 excluding other benefits,” Tatam complained, who could hardly manage to go for a single family vacation since joining as SSA teacher.

Financial crisis compelled me take loan from my relatives on interest to reach Itanagar as SSA teachers’ salary has not been disbursed since last three months making our life more miserable,” added an aggrieved Tatam.

The SSA teachers had withdrawn their pen and  tool down agitation in November last year following state government’s assurance to fulfill their two-point demands that included enhancement of salary; batch-wise regularization of service of SSA teachers.

Reportedly, the state government even constituted a five-member Committee on 26th March, 2018 headed by the Secretary Education to frame modalities for SSA teachers’ regularization as per Budget speech in Assembly. Accordingly, the Committee had submitted its report to the government on 27th April last. However, the agenda for regularization of SSA teachers allegedly remained untouched even after technical clearance from the said Committee, thereby stalling the process of batch wise job regularization.

Around 6,850 SSA teachers are currently serving under state government and assisting the regular teachers. “Life becomes too difficult to run the family with irregular salary. Yet we didn’t give up hope that someday we will be regularized,” Tatam said adding that the last batch was regularized on 17th August 2017.

The CEC-AASSATA on 11th June last had sought for immediate acknowledgment of action taken as per the Committee report within seven days. However, there was allegedly no response from the government forcing the Association to resort to a three-day dharna at Itanagar, as first phase of its agitation.

“As a matter of fact, after August 2017 no DPC had taken place depriving SSA teachers from regularization,” Tatam lamented adding that the government’s alleged apathetic attitude is demoralizing SSA teachers as many of us are crossing 40 years of age and possibility of getting absorbed in other jobs is already gone.

“I decided to join this sit-in protest with a hope of getting justice. We believe Chief Minister Pema Khandu led state government will look into our grievances and redress it at the earliest,” he hoped.

Like Tatam there are thousands of SSA teachers, who are serving the state’s Education department over one decade, who have come to Itanagar all the way from their respective serving places hoping to get justice and absorbed in the department as regular teachers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *