TN: Awaiting Jobs Since 2013, TET-Qualified Teachers Hold 7th Protest This Year
Protest demanding withdrawal of GO 149. Image courtesy: Theekkathir
Candidates who have cleared the Tamil Nadu Teachers Eligibility Test (TNTET) and are awaiting government jobs have held seven protests since January 2022. Some of them had passed the examination in 2012 and have since been awaiting appointment orders.
To their dismay, in 2018, the then All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) government passed G.O. 149; it demanded them to crack the re-appointment competitive examination to be eligible for teaching in schools.
The current Chief Minister and then opposition leader in the state, M K Stalin outrightly opposed the order in 2018. During the assembly election campaign, he promised to withdraw the order if voted to power.
Point 177 of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) election manifesto reads: “Necessary steps will be taken to ensure youngsters who have cleared the TET exam and have not been allotted a job since 2013 get a job at the earliest."
It also states, “Legal recommendations will be made to provide lifetime eligibility on TET qualification certificates."
School teacher aspirants are vexed that one and a half years into the DMK rule the order has still not been withdrawn. They urged the present government to appoint mid-level and graduate teachers directly.
Prior to G.O. 149, it sufficed to qualify Paper 1 to teach classes I to V, and Paper 2 to teach till Class VIII.
On October 3, more than 200 government school teacher aspirants held a hunger strike in Valluvar Kottam, Chennai. This is their seventh protest in 2022.
Altas, a protester from Kanyakumari, said to the press. “The government is not bothered about us. We have held so many different forms of protest, but it was all in vain."
He added, “Officials promise to consider our demand and take it up with the chief minister while we hold protests. But after the protests, they forget about us. We feel cheated. We have been struggling for the past ten years."
Another protester said, “Vacancies were filled by neither the previous government nor the present one. The School Education Department, Principal Secretary to Government, Kakarla Usha pointed out that due to this, the quality of education has deteriorated in the state."
Ravi, Joint Coordinator, Union of Those Who Passed TNTET, said, “We have decided not to disperse from here until the chief minister gives us a proper response. If the cops are sent to disperse us, we have decided to march to the chief minister’s residence.”
However, their resolution to not disperse was broken as the government sent the police; on October 4 evening, the protestors were forcibly cleared from Valluvar Kottam. The protestors have repeatedly cited how they have been treated poorly.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), and Makkal Neethi Maiam (MNM) extended their solidarity to the protestors.
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