SHILLONG, Dec 20: Even as the Meghalaya SSA Schools Association (MSSASA) has welcomed the order issued by the State Mission Director (SMD) DP Wahlang on October 31 pertaining to the enhancement of salary for SSA teachers in the state, a small group of teachers staged a ‘sitting protest’ outside the Main Secretariat here on Tuesday against this decision.
The protest sponsored by All Meghalaya SSA School Teachers’ Association (AMSSATA) which was held at the parking lot near the Additional Secretariat here saw participation of over 60 teachers.
As per the order, the salary enhancement for SSA teachers who are qualified as per RTE Act and NCTE norms was fixed at Rs 19, 044 and upper primary (UP) teachers at Rs 20, 493.
However, for teachers who are under qualified, the salary will be at Rs 13, 335 and Rs 14, 392 for LP and UP respectively.
“We are totally against this arbitrary order of the state government despite the Project Approval Board (PAB) decision to increase salary of UP teachers at Rs 20,493 and LP teachers at Rs 19,044,” AMSSATA president L Marngar said.
“We are demanding equal pay for equal work,” he said while adding, “We have also submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister and the Minister in charge for their intervention into the matter.”
Asked on the reason of division among the SSA teachers, Marngar said, “We are representing all the SSA teachers unlike the MSSASA which is just a school association and we will not accept the order so easily like them.”
He however could not justify the poor participation of SSA teachers during the sit-in-protest while claiming that 90 per cent of them are untrained teachers.
Earlier most of the media persons who approach for interview on the protest which started since 10 am were disappointed at the impolite attitude of the association president when he replied rudely, “We have never invited the press but briefing will only take place after 4pm.”
Meanwhile MSSASA general secretary HM Marbaniang, when contacted said that the association has decided to welcome the order of the State Mission Director based on RTI reports and clarification received from MHRD in New Delhi.
“We have properly examined the RTI findings on the decision taken by the Project Approval Board (PAB) Ministry of Human Resource Development on April 22,” he said.
He also said that the salary enhancement fixed at Rs 19,044 (for LP teachers) and Rs 20, 493 (for UP teachers) meant only for those who fulfilled the criteria laid down as per the RTE Act and NCTE norms.
He further stated in view of the fact that the state has many untrained teachers, the PAB decided to leave it to the SSA State Education Mission Authority Meghalaya (SEMAM) to decide on the salary enhancement for them.
“It (SEMAM) has decided to enhance the salary of the untrained teachers by 44.95 percent (at Rs 13, 335 and Rs 14, 392 for LP and UP respectively) ,” he said.
“If we don’t accept the order, it will be a loss to the teachers because if the first installment received could not be utilized, the state will face difficulty in getting the second installment from the Centre,” he pointed out.
According to him, out of over 12, 000 SSA teachers in Meghalaya, a total of 7000 plus have enrolled and are undergoing for Diploma in Elementary Education (D.EL.ED) training.
Stating that it is mandatory for all teachers to complete the training as per NCTE norms, he said, “We urge more teachers to enroll for the training, which the Centre has approved for another 8000 teachers, for them to be trained teachers and qualified as per the NCTE norms.”
He also opined that the agitating teachers are those who are under qualified and lack an understanding of the rules.