SSA TEACHERS –facing denial and injustice!
By: Mushtaq Hurra
Rebellion becomes inevitable when rights are snatched, silence erupts like volcano when innocence is misunderstood as weakness, harsher protests and agitations become the order of the day when men are treated like slaves.Something similar is happening in our education department where 41,000 teachers are miserably facing the official high-handedness, callousness and insensitivity.The ugly scenes between the teachers and concerned agencies is clearly indicative of the ordeal, dejection and anger of teacher fraternity.
Last three months or so have been very tumultuous and chaotic for this particular teaching community, working in primary and Middle schools of Jammu and Kashmir and commonly known as SSA teachers.This teaching community is grabbing headlines for being up in arms against the people at the helm of affairs and are neither insane nor rebels but victims of bad policies of the government that has forced them to take onto the streets and even taste the baton charging of police. As much as, this segment of our society had to celebrate Eid in Pratappark away from home and it is suffocatingto see how brutally they were treated
Something is surely wrong here.The teaching community is not fighting for any extraordinary favour or supportand are rather fighting for their legitimate and legal rights conferred upon them by the Constitution of the state as permanent state employees.
Are SSA teachers really permanent state employees? This has become a million dollar question in our state.Many media houses including social media is abuzz with such debates as many dub SSA teachers as contractual employees.But people are unaware about the formal orders and other service documents of SSA teachers like service books dully signed by the concerned DDOs, GP fund accounts etc. Let people have a look on the formal orders of SSA teachers from their respective directorates where no nomenclature like SSA, ReT or RRT is written and rather the orders declare these teachers as general line teachers after the completion of five years of satisfactory service as ReT’s.The service books of these teachers are proofof the fact that they are the permanent state employees at par with other state employees and also that they have been availing different incentives and privileges for last many years, adds to the proof that they are permanent state employees.They have been given the benefits of 6th pay commission, they have been receiving annual increments at par with other state employees and had their appointments been of contractual nature, how come they would have enjoyed the above mentioned privileges?
Nobody can deny the fact that this teaching community has added a new lease of life to our educational system at elementary level.It was the time when our government schools were virtually in shambles and at the verge of closure and enrolment in government schools had reduced drastically.Many children gave up their studies for the distance between their homes and schools.The academic standards were at an all-time low and by the introduction of this batch of teachers, a change in both the academic standards as well as in the perception of parents about teaching-learning processes in government schools improved manifold.
SSA teachers are qualified and capable of carrying out any academic assignment and are at par with general line teachers vis-a-vis degrees, educational qualifications, aptitude and calibre. I mean, they possess everything required for teaching, and teaching related endeavours.Then, why this Injustice and double standard?
The notion that SSA teachers are deficient is purely based on bias and prejudice.Some narrow-minded media men and pseudo intellectuals are poisoning people against these teachers.This scheme had lured many promising youth who could have done wonders in their academic careers.Had this plight been known to them, they would not have even touched it.The permanent job status ahead of five years preliminary service made youth complacent and they didn't look for alternatives rather sacrificed their aspirations for a noble cause.
Now, the denial of 7th pay commission benefits and other issues are pure violations on part of the system which is exploiting the situation and fiddling with the lives of thousands of people who gave their best and are at the receiving end now. The issue is assuming dangerous proportions and things are turning from bad to worse.Teachers are frequently leaving their schools and classrooms, and the poorest of the poor, the students are facing the heat.
If our teachers are unhappy, if they are deprived of their legal and legitimate rights, how can we expect them to work properly because mental peace and tranquillity is very essential for carrying out a job which requires both physical and mental involvement of an individual? Let us all condemn this official apathy in one voice.
The writer is a teacher and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org