Non-teaching staff protest in front of Jamshedpur Women’s College on Thursday. (Bhola Prasad)
On Friday, 21,439 intermediate examinees of East Singhbhum across 24 centres will face a challenge more daunting than their first Jharkhand Academic Council (JAC) board paper — answering the exam with non-teaching staff on strike.
Six constituent colleges under Kolhan University, which are intermediate exam centres, will have to make do without non-teaching staff.
From February 19, around 6,500 non-teaching staff across 64 affiliated colleges of five universities went on an indefinite strike to demand their inclusion in the Sixth Pay Commission and a two-year increase from the present retirement age of 60. Kolhan University has around 1,100 striking employees.
The non-teaching employees perform key tasks during any major exam.
If they don’t work, the synchronised task of collating and transferring bundles of answer-sheets, could be a mess from Friday.
But striking staffers are in no mood to oblige examinees or college authorities.
“We have agreed not to work on Friday, exam or no exam. We are fighting for our rights and we will stick to our resolve. But, we won’t bar examinees from entering the premises,” said Vishambhar Yadav, zonal secretary of Jharkhand State University and College Employees’ Federation.
Colleges have taken some pre-emptive steps. They have written to JAC to make the board aware about the situation and constraints.
“We are helpless as nobody wants to work. We have written to JAC about this,” said Shukla Mahanty, principal, Jamshedpur Women’s College.
But Jamshedpur Worker’s College has arrived at a workable solution. The college has requested retired non-teaching staff to step in at least during exams.
“I requested the retired staffers to lend their services, of course for an honorarium. I wrote to the governor and to JAC, explaining that administrative work was impossible without non-teaching staff. As they did not want to disturb the examination schedule, I had to resort to this method,” said D.P. Shukla, principal.