Guwahati, Nov. 9: Over 2.5 lakh Assam teachers from the primary school to the university level today decided to form a federation of their associations and launch a campaign against “anarchy” in the state’s education sector.
The idea of forming the federation, to be called the Asom Rajyik Sikshak-Karmachari Mancha, took shape at a daylong convention of various teachers’ associations. The president and secretary of each association will be the conveners of the new organisation. Assam College Teachers Association president Jyoti Prasad Gogoi heads the group. The first meeting is slated for December 7.
The formation of a federation of teachers’ associations is bad news for Dispur, which has had more than its share of problems with the teaching fraternity. There have been several strikes over non-payment of salaries on time and corruption in appointment of teachers since the Tarun Gogoi government assumed office over two years ago.
Teachers’ associations have accused the Congress government of going back on its commitment, made before the Assembly election in 2001, to find solutions to their problems.
Speakers at the daylong convention said the government had crippled the state’s education system by curtailing the budget allocation. The anger was reflected in one of the resolutions adopted at the conclave. “Anarchy has gripped the entire education sphere, from the primary to the university level, because of the lack of a coherent and well-planned education policy.”
The chief convener of the new organisation said the problems plaguing the formal education sector had been aggravated by the gradual withdrawal of state support to schools, colleges and universities. “The government owes a huge amount of money to the teachers by way of salary arrears for several years. Posts remain vacant, preventing educational institutions from imparting quality education.”
The convention finalised a 13-point agenda, calling for sustained pressure on the government to increase the budgetary allocation for education, constitute an education tribunal, form a state education commission and frame a new set of rules to ensure job security for teachers and non-teaching employees of educational institutions.
The other demands include freeing educational institutions of political interference, ensuring employment to students after completion of education, introduction of quality textbooks, radical changes in the examination system and creation of an atmosphere conducive to the pursuit of academic excellence.
“The state government entered into agreements with different teachers’ organisations to end the impasse created by the agitation programmes periodically launched by them. However, the government betrayed the teaching fraternity by going back on its commitments,” a senior schoolteacher said.