Srinagar: The J&K Teachers’ Form convened an emergency meeting given the protests and consequent police action over the issue of screening of ReT teachers to determine their ability and competence. The session was presided over by Chairman J&K Teachers Form (JKTF) and President EJAC Abdul Qayoom Wani.
The issue snowballed after the education minister last week proposed a screening of all the ReTs appointed under the central-sponsored scheme, SSA, during the last 15 years. The minister also ordered the verification of
certificates of teachers who have obtained degrees from universities outside the state.
The JKTF gathering, while expressing gratitude towards teachers for observing the ‘lock out’ in schools on Thursday, also appealed for all-out efforts to ensure the ‘success of the protest programme’, which includes a protest at all the district headquarters on Friday.
The gathering claimed that the ‘dignity and honour’ of teachers was under threat and that teachers should compel the government to ‘withdraw the tyrannical orders’ and prevent the implementation of the screening programme at the grass roots level. Provincial, district and zonal level leaders, including volunteers, were asked to make Friday’s protest a success and make it clear to the government that the eligibility test was not acceptable to teachers. Wani also stressed that teachers should ‘maintain unity at this crucial juncture’.
Meanwhile, work in government run educational institutions across the state was badly affected on Thursday due to the lockout call given
by the JKTF against the proposed screening of ReT teachers. Most parts of the state reported a complete lockout of schools. “Almost all the schools in my zone remained shut due to the strike,” said a zonal education officer from Pulwama.
Speaking to Kashmir Reader, Qayoom Wani said the lockout call given by the forum had evoked a total response from all the districts of the state. He said that on Friday representatives of the teachers’ forum would hold protests at their respective district headquarters. “ReT teachers have been appointed on the basis of their merit and have worked for peanuts for five years in far-flung areas. And now asking them to face the screening test is humiliation, which we cannot tolerate. If government does not revoke the humiliating order we will intensify our protests,” Wani said.
On his part, however, director school education Kashmir, Showkat Ali said that schools in the Valley functioned smoothly. “High and higher secondary schools were completely functional. Though ReTs were on strike in primary and middle schools, but the general line teachers ensured the smooth functioning of schools,” he told Kashmir Reader.