The state education department has sent a proposal to the state finance department to increase the pay scale of the primary teachers to rupees 3600. The minister, while addressing thousands of primary teachers, under the West Bengal Trinamul Primary Teachers’ Association, said, “Earlier, the grade pay was Rs 2,600 and now it has been increased to Rs 3,200, but we are trying to increase it to Rs 3,600. “The finance department is now thinking over sources to arrange the funds. We have formed a committee of the principal secretary, commissioner and senior officials of the state education department who will look into the quick implementation of the pay scale.”
Mr Chatterjee, announcing a host of initiatives for the primary teachers, said, “We have given the orders for transfer of teachers with proper norms, as it was being alleged by the 14 teachers on hunger strike that their transfer has not been done properly. We also welcome the demand of including class five in the primary section. But before implementing that, we will need to accommodate the classrooms accordingly. In order to prevent drop-outs from schools, we are planning to bring together few good schools and provide special classes on Saturdays or Sundays.” We have also decided to prepare a promotion policy, the draft of which has been already done. Under this, 10- 15 per cent of teachers, those have capabilities, will be reserved and promoted to upper primary section.”
The minister further informed, “Today, we held a meeting with the DI and SI from various districts to review if the government benefits are being implemented in the schools. We have also asked to count the number of teachers, non-teaching staff and students in various schools.
It has been decided that tenders will be given and students’ uniforms will be made with the help of self-help groups. Regarding the problems of the Shishu Shiksha Kendra (SSK) and Madhyamik Shiksha Kendra (MSK), steps will be taken and issues are expected to be resolved soon. Also, no guest lecturers will be allowed in any colleges. The chief minister is considering ways as to how to stand by the academics who are working as guest lecturers.
Slamming the Union government, the minister said, “The Union government, under the ‘sarva sikhsha abhiyan’ is not giving us around Rs 5,000 crores. The rule of elementary education is that they (centre) will give us finance. But they are not giving us anything. Why is nobody talking against the central government which is not giving us the finance?”
The minister urged the teachers who gathered in large number at Nazrul Mancha today, to voice their concerns that the centre is paying only 30 to 40 per cent of the amount allocated during budget to us while the rest is not being given.
He also urged the group of 14 protesters (primary teachers) to call off their indefinite hunger strike that entered the 13th day today.
The education minister’s statement aggravated the anger of the protesting group who are in no mood to withdraw their agitation. Veteran actor Soumita chatterjee expressed solidarity with the agitating primary teachers and requested the chief minister to intervene.