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Teachers’ strike blow to skilled worker plan

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 19: The state’s target of producing 10 lakh skilled workers in various sectors by 2017 may suffer a blow with resource persons in government vocational junior colleges refusing to take classes till their various demands are fulfilled.

The resource persons, under the banner of All Odisha Plus Two Vocational Teachers’ Association, staged a rally here today reiterating their demand for job regularisation and adequate infrastructure in their colleges.

Vocational education, which is a separate stream under the state department of higher education, was launched in 1988 as a Centre-sponsored programme. At that time, the state government had approved the creation of 231 government vocational junior colleges. However, only 187 are functional at present.

A total of 218 full-time resource persons are engaged in teaching 20 trades conducted on the premises of various government, non-government and government-aided colleges. Each college has been allotted two trades.

“Even after 23 years of service, we have remained contractual employees with a meagre salary of Rs 8,000. In every government vocational junior college, one person has to multi-task as a principal, a teacher, a clerk and a peon. Though around 230 regular teaching and non-teaching posts were created, those have not been filled up so far. We have the requisite qualification, but the government has ignored our pleas,” said Golak Chandra Routray, an adviser to the association.

The agitating teachers said while other states such as Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Assam and Maharashtra were running the programme successfully, the Odisha government had neglected vocational education.

“In other states, training is given in more than 100 trades, including various advanced trades, according to the requirements of the market. But here, we train in just 20 trades,” said Bijay Kumar Sahoo, a resource person from Dhenkanal.