Contractual Teachers Stage Protest In Patna Demanding Permanent Employee Status

Furthering their imbroglio with the state government over their demands, contractual teachers on Tuesday, staged a protest in Patna, Bihar. Under the banner of Bihar Shikshak Ekta Manch, the teachers gathered at Patna’s Gardani Bagh at 11:30 am to stage a demonstration. While the protesting teachers marched towards the assembly, they were stopped by the police at Gardani Bagh. Over 20,000 contractual teachers from across the state gathered to participate in the demonstration in Patna today. While the protest was earlier postponed, it was eventually planned to be held today, on the second day of the budget session. Considering the huge gathering of teachers in the protest, similar demonstrations by teachers are also likely to take place in other areas of Bihar. 

Notably, the contractual teachers in Bihar have been long demanding permanent government employee status without any conditions. The teachers are also demanding to revoke the recommendation made by the Education Department’s committee, which includes the provision to dismiss teachers if they fail the competency exam three times. Another demand is for equal salary increments for all contractual teachers after being granted the status of government employees.

According to contractual teachers, conducting the competency exam online poses several practical difficulties. Most contractual teachers are not familiar with operating computers, so if competency exams are to be conducted, they should be done offline. As per the protesting teachers,, they have already passed the Teacher Eligibility Test (TET). In such a scenario, there is no justification for the competency exam. The government wants to dismiss teachers through this exam.

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The Principal Secretary of the Education Department, KK Pathak, has instructed all District Magistrates to take action against teachers participating in demonstrations. Earlier, he issued an order for contractual teachers stating that if contractual teachers do not appear for the competency exam conducted three times, they will have to resign from their jobs. Passing the exam once is necessary to retain the job. Contractual teachers who pass the competency exam will be given the status of permanent government employees. They will be given the opportunity to sit in the exam three times to pass. At present there are nearly 4 lakh contractual teachers in Bihar. As per the decision taken by the Bihar government, the first competency exam is scheduled to be held on February 26.

After conducting the first competency exam on February 26 and declaring its result, consecutive exams will be conducted by the Bihar School Examination Committee in three phases. All local body teachers who do not appear for or fail to pass the exams in three consecutive phases or appear for fewer than three phases or fail to pass after appearing for three phases will be terminated from their service.

(With inputs from Shashank)

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