Over 15,000 teachers gathered at the Khanapara Veterinary Ground in Guwahati city in the northeastern Indian State of Assam last week, demanding regularization of jobs. The protest was called by the All Assam Primary TET-Qualified Teachers’ Association. The protesting teachers raised slogans such as “No Regular, No Rest! We want justice!”
The teachers also marched towards the residence of the education minister of Assam, Siddhartha Bhattacharya. However, they were stopped by police personnel, citing security reasons.
According to Diparnav Ghosh, general secretary of the All Assam TET Teachers’ Association, the demonstration was held to demand the unconditional regularization of all TET teachers, with full-pay protection. TET, the Teacher Eligibility Test, is mandatory in India for getting teaching jobs in government schools from Class 1 to Class 8, as well as the minimum qualification for a person to be able to appear for entrance examination for teachers. “We have been tendering our sincere service since 2012. It has been 7 years, but till today, the government has not paid any heed to our demands,” Ghosh said.
“They are trying to remove us from our jobs. They have been trying to pressurize us from day one. So today, we have assembled here to tell the government that we are agitating democratically, and if the government won’t listen to us, this agitation will continue,” he added.
Even though there are more than 41,000 TET-qualified teachers whose jobs are yet to be regularized, the education minister has recently announced another round of TET examination to be held in September, along with new recruitment.
For a number of teachers, the situation has become very difficult as their TET certificates have either already expired or are soon to expire. The education minister said they may have to take another round of the TET to remain eligible to apply for a regular job.
“Our education minister, in a radio talk show, compared our certificates which we had acquired after passing a tough competitive exam to a driving license. We felt humiliated, we felt insulted. From that day onwards, we started agitating,” Ghosh said.
With inputs from NewsClick.