It is unfortunate that the aggrieved Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) teachers were compelled to serve a legal notice to the State Government demanding the release of their eight-month pending arrears within fifteen days. The notice was sent to the Principal Secretary in-charge education, who is also the State Mission Director SEMAM (SSA), and the State Project Director, SEMAM-SSA and Director of School Education and Literacy.
According to the notice dated February 20, 2019, eleven teachers comprising of trained and untrained have not received the arrears of salary with effect from July 1, 2016 till February 28, 2017.
The Pleader Notice demanded the release of arrears of salary within fifteen days from the date of the notice, failing which the aggrieved SSA teachers will seek the recourse of the Court of Law for recovery of the arrears entitled.
It may be reminded that the Meghalaya Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan School Association (MSSASA) on several occasions had submitted representations and reminders for the release of the arrears of salary but the same has never been considered; putting the teachers in great financial hardship and they are being deprived of their legitimate dues.
With this, the teaching community from Primary to Post Graduate, including the Retired College Teachers in Meghalaya, all have to knock the door of the Court for respective redressal, be it for non-payment of salary to welfare schemes to promotion, despite every successive state government pledging to streamline the education system and its policies.
Regarding the SSA teachers, particularly serving in the rural areas, and the section working with the specially-abled children needs to be commended. But in view of the government policies and non-payment of salary, all such services have been discontinued, depriving the services to the rural kids and needy section of the society.
It is not only the teachers, many para-medical practitioners were also compelled to discontinue the extension programme for the People with Disability in rural areas, while the state health department does not have the manpower nor the resources to reach out to this particular section of the grassroots.
The state government is well aware that be it the SSA teachers or the Primary school teachers, many are finding it difficult to make both ends meet, and living from hand to mouth. With the delay in getting salary, many are indebted to loan and credit particularly for the grocery and other essential commodities, not to talk about the house rent and the school fees and other expenses.
There are various complaints that the village school teachers, SSA teachers and other Anganwadi workers are not serving the society. Under such duress, how can one expect such teachers and workers to dedicate their services, when they are in great financial hardship and are being deprived of their legitimate dues? Worst so, now some SSA teachers have to serve Legal Notice to the state government for non-receipt of arrears, which also involves expenditure.
The familiar statement for such circumstances is lack of fund, although all such programmes are planned. Such lukewarm attitude towards the welfare of the young minds is beyond anyone’s imagination, or why cannot the successive state government divert some funds from the luxury and wasteful expenditure for perks and facilities of teachers. For instance, the demand for latest SUVs for legislators and bureaucrats could be curtailed and the funds diverted for the welfare of SSA and Primary teachers in the state.