Shillong, Aug. 10: Nearly a thousand primary schoolteachers from across Meghalaya staged a sit-in near the Raj Bhavan here today to press for the fulfilment of their pending demands.
The demands include regular payment of monthly salaries, payment of head teacher’s allowance, inclusion of primary teachers appointed in the past as government teachers, disbursement of the pending 30 per cent arrears according to the recommendations of the Meghalaya Fourth Pay Commission, and retirement benefits.
Nearly a thousand teachers under the banner of the All Meghalaya Primary School Teachers’ Association (AMPSTA) took part in the demonstration.
Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma claimed that his government was trying to tackle the problems afflicting the teaching community. “I have directed the chief secretary to look into the problems of the agitating teachers. He will speak to the education department and find out where the problem exactly lies,” Sangma told reporters in his office chamber.
He said it was not necessary for him to meet the agitating teachers if their problems could be sorted out at the lower level.
On the delay in disbursement of salary, Sangma said this may not necessarily be the fault of the government. “It can also be that the managing committees of their schools are having problems,” he added.
“The failure of the government to address our demands has brought us onto the streets to stage this demonstration,” AMPSTA general secretary F.C. Shullai said.
Moreover, the teachers resolved to stop meeting education minister R.C. Laloo about their demands and wanted the chief minister’s direct intervention.
“We will now write to the chief minister in relation to our demands since the education minister has not done anything,” Shullai said.
He also said if the chief minister does not pay heed to the demands, the teachers would not only boycott, but also “picket” during Teacher’s Day celebrations on September 5.
“It is futile to honour us only on Teacher’s Day because we have been suppressed for so long and our demands have not been addressed by the government,” Shullai said.
The chief minister also told reporters that over the years the government has not been able to provide adequate attention to the education sector, giving rise to various problems, adding that school managing committees should also share responsibilities with the government.