1.30 lakh primary school teachers on mass leave in Odisha for better pay

The primary school education in Odisha has been hit badly as 1.30 lakh teachers of over 50,000 schools have gone on a mass strike, demanding a “respectable” salary.

Primary school teachers have staged dharna in front of schools and block education offices, and threatened to prolong their agitation for indefinite period if their demand is not met.

“We are getting a grade pay of ₹2,200, which is very low as compared to salary being given to other government employees. In order to make primary education robust, the government must consider paying salary at par with our counterparts in Central government,” Sunil Pradhan, a member of steering committee, said.

The school teachers resorted to the extreme step after the government did not attach any importance to teachers’ demand, Mr. Pradhan said.

Apart from the demand for parity in salary, the teachers wanted the government to restore the old pension scheme, and do away with contractual appointments.

The steering committee member said the State government had itself announced to a stop to contractual appointments. However, the government is going to recruit over 20,000 teachers on contractual basis, and advertisement for the same had been issued, Mr. Pradhan said.

Mr. Pradhan said the government had announced the formation of a sub-committee to discuss the long pending demands of teachers, but no serious discussion had taken place.

“We are not going to compromise on our demand this time. The government had held discussions in 2017, 2022 and now in 2023. However, those meetings did not yield any outcome,” he said.

The ongoing Odisha teachers’ agitation began on September 8, while teachers resorted to mass absence in schools from Wednesday.

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