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Bihar: After Repeated Protests, Govt Grants Employee Status to Over 3.5 Lakh Contractual School Teachers

It will benefit all the contractual school teachers appointed in the state since 2006 through Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) and Urban Local Bodies (ULBs).
Nitish Kumar

Image Courtesy: PTI

Patna: More than 3.5 lakh contractual school teachers, locally known as Niyojit Shikshak, in Bihar, have finally got state government employee status. 

In a significant move to fulfil an old demand for contractual school teachers in Bihar, the Mahagathbandan government led by Nitish Kumar has decided to give state government employees status to them. A proposal of the education department in this connection was approved by the state cabinet meeting chaired by Kumar on Tuesday(December 26).

According to an official release, the government has decided to grant government employee status as per Bihar School Specialist Teachers Rules, 2023. It will benefit all the contractual school teachers appointed in the state since 2006 through Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) and Urban Local Bodies (ULBs).

The state government decision four days before year-end (2023) has come as a New Year gift to contractual school teachers, who have long been demanding government employees' status and staged repeated protests during the last two years.

However, contractual school teachers will have to pass a simple competency test conducted by the education department soon to formally get government employee status.

"We are really happy because the government has at last fulfilled our old demand. We will be treated as government employees, not as contractual teachers. Now we will get all the facilities like permanent or regular teachers," Gajendra Sharma, a contractual school teacher in the Arwal district, told NewsClick.

Another contractual school teacher, Mohit Kumar Yadav of Patna district, told NewsClick that this is a major positive development for thousands of teachers. Yadav recalled that Mahagathbandan had promised to fulfil their demands if they came to power.

Manoj Kumar, a leader of contractual school teachers, said repeated protests and agitation forced the state government to fulfil the old demand to give them government employees status.

In mid-2023, thousands of contractual teachers protesting against new recruitment rules decided not to fill out application forms for appointment as teachers with the status of government employees. Earlier, contractual teachers observed a black day, held phase-wise protest marches, dharna and burnt copies of the new rules across the state. Associations comprising more than 3.5 lakh contractual teachers have joined to protest the new rules.

Under the Bihar State School Teachers (appointment, transfer, disciplinary action and service condition) Rules, 2023, teachers would be appointed under one standardised process and have status equivalent to state government employees with separate district cadres.

Bihar Madhyamik Sikshak Sangh has made it clear that contractual teachers were against going through another examination and demanded the government give them the status of state government employees without any condition.

The Mahagathbandhan government has decided to grant state government employees to contractual school teachers nearly four to five months before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. This can help the ruling coalition to consolidate its support base on the ground.

The Left parties - CPI(ML), CPI, CPI(M) -- allies of the ruling Grand Alliance in the state, also played an important role in convincing the government to fulfil this demand of the contractual school teachers.

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