New Delhi: A sword of uncertainty hangs over the future of over 1.5 lakh shiksha mitras (para teachers) in Uttar Pradesh after the draft National Education Policy (NEP) was made public. On May 31, a committee led by former ISRO chief Kasturirangan submitted the draft NEP to the Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, after which panic set in among the para teachers as the report spells trouble for the jobs of lakhs of them.
The para teachers fear that the Bharatiya Janata Party government in Uttar Pradesh may consider scrapping the post of shiksha mitra in the state, as the NEP suggests staying all such appointments till 2022 as well as scrapping past recruitments, if the Narendra Modi government accepts all the recommendations.
The draft NEP says: “All “para-teacher” (Shikshakarmi, Shikshamitra, etc.) systems across the country will be stopped by 2022. This is for the same reason: we must ensure that teachers are invested in, and can build strong long-term relationships with, their communities.”
This is the draft formulation of the third education policy in the past 50 years.
Such a recommendation comes at a time when a massive movement is being organised by para teachers in many states, including Uttar Pradesh.
SHIKSHA MITRAS ---- DEMANDING PERMANENT STATUS
Uttar Pradesh has over 1.68 lakh shiksha mitras who teach in primary schools. These shiksha mitras were appointed on a contractual basis to assist primary school teachers in rural and urban areas for Rs 2,250/month, and were upgraded to a pay scale of Rs 39,000/month. Around 1.37 lakh of them were promoted as permanent employees in 2014 by the state government.
This order was, however, quashed by the Allahabad High Court in September 2015. After the Supreme Court upheld the HC verdict, the teachers launched a massive agitation.
Speaking to Newsclick, Anil Yadav, a leader of the shiksha mitras, said, "After 2022, there will be no recruitment of shiksha mitras. There are almost 6,000-7,000 shiksha mitras in Uttar Pradesh who have not been trained according to government guidelines, who will lose their jobs.”
He said the shiksha mitras were made full-time teachers when the Akhilesh Yadav government came to power in 2014 and since then, till 2017, “we were full-time teachers. But soon after Yogi Adityanath became Chief Minister, the post of shiksha mitras has been cancelled. Despite several protests, the ruling BJP did not listen our demands,” He said in 2017, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party had said in its Sankalp Patra (pledge document) that they would give permanent status to shiksha mitras “but it has been proved to be a mere jumla”(hollow statement).
Yadav said after the "NEP draft was made public, the same Adityanath government is scrapping the post of shiksha mitras which is betrayal of para teachers. This government is destroying our future despite knowing that most of us are financially weak."
Meanwhile, shiksha mitras in UP, who are being paid Rs 10,000/month, say they salaries since four months.
Uma Devi, another shiksha mitra, told Newsclick, "If this policy is implemented by the BJP government, more than lakh people will lose their jobs. I still remember Modi had announced during election that shiksha mitras were really doing hard work and would be made permanent once his government came to power. Leave being made permanent things, they are planning make us financially handicapped."
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