The East Singhbhum district education department claims to have taken measures to ensure that primary schools are running despite the strike by para-teachers even though residents of areas where the cradles are located beg to differ.
The officials said that they had arranged teachers from other government schools and deputed them at New Primary Schools (NPSes) that are solely run by para-teachers.
“We have arranged about 379 teachers for taking classes at NPSes. We are also trying to rope in youths, who have at least completed matriculation. The Saraswati Vahinis has been asked to ensure that midday meal programme does not get hampered,” said Indubhushan Singh, district superintendent of education.
The measures come in the midst of a state HRD missive to deputy commissioners of all districts, asking them to ensure that schools were running normally as mandated by the Right to Compulsory and Free Education Act, 2009. The letter, sent on Thursday, also stressed that the midday meal programme should not be affected at any cost.
Gram Shiksha Samitis have been asked to recruit new teachers if the para-teachers, whose strike entered the fourth day on Friday, continued to boycott work. The state has also decided to punish the para-teachers by not paying them for the period they are on strike.
Local residents of several places, however, gave a different picture. “The school here has been shut for four days,” said Ram Narayan Singh, a shopkeeper near the NPS at Gwala Basti, Sonari. NPSes at Machhuapara in Mango, Kanubhatta in Bhuiyadih and at Carriage Colony near Tatanagar railway station also stayed shut on Friday, local residents claimed.
Even para-teachers doubted the department’s claims. “How can they arrange teachers from other schools where there is a huge scarcity of mentors?,” said Sumit Tiwary, president of Jharkhand Rajya Sahyogi Mitra Para Shikshak Sangh, East Singhbhum.