Odisha : Studies in various schools have come to halt due to an indefinite strike of teachers across the State. Around 40,000 teachers came out to protest demanding 100 percent grant of government. Teachers from all over the state have gathered to grant state government affiliation to around 2,209 secondary schools, 916 middle schools, 138 madrasas and 42 Sanskrit schools which were operating under block.
The institutions, which are functional under block grant system are treated as aided institution and allowances are paid as combined salary of the staff on monthly basis. The teachers however said that the government is forcefully imposing grant-aid-policy on them. They also stated that, those teachers who are under block grant policy have fixed salary with no hope of increment throughout their career. Also there are no facilities provided such as pensions or death benefits.
Demanding the abolition of block grant policy, teachers have gathered in front of district education offices under the banner of ‘Odisha Vidyalaya Sikshak Mahasangh (OBSM)’ to grant implementation of full affiliation from the State government.
Teachers alleged that previously government had made promises to look into the matter and despite of repeated protest and appeals, the government has put least of their attention in this matter.
According to Peasant Mohapatra, General Secretary of Block Grant Secondary Schools Teachers and Employees Association, “A teacher would get a maximum salary of Rs 13,500 a month. We are doing work similar to that of regular teachers. There is a lot of resentment and dissatisfaction among the teachers, which is affecting their performance as well.”
The government has however asked the teachers to stop the agitation as this would effect the future of students studying in the block grant schools. Continuing the strike, teachers said that they would not call off the strike unless the State government meets their demands. Teachers demanded to abolish the grand-aid policy and to implement the grant-aid rules of 1994 under which the following teaches will get allowances same as that of regular teachers.
OBSM Convenor Prakash Mohanty said to the local newspaper that, “We demand the State government to provide full grant to all 4000 eligible block schools” Keeping this in mind the condition, State government has started consulting with the finance department to look for possible solutions. As per the source a new policy regarding this issue stated that the block grant schools which are functional since eight years are eligible for full grants-in-aid and the allowances will be paid as per sixth pay commission. However schools which are receiving grant from block for over six years are eligible to get 75 percent of aid and remaking schools which are receiving block grants for over 3 years will receive 60 percent grant.