With most teachers in districts drawn from ReT, rural schools badly hit by strike

With most teachers in districts drawn from ReT, rural schools badly hit by strike
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Irshad Khan

Sriangar: Academic work at primary and middle schools across Kashmir has taken a hit due to the ongoing strike of Rehbar-e-Taleem (ReT) teachers.
Demanding the delinking of their salaries from the union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), the ReTs across the state went on an indefinite strike on May 1.
After they were cane charged while trying to gherao the Civil Secretariat Srinagar on May 14, the protesting teachers have been on pen-down strike at their schools since then.
As “80 percent” staff at the primary schools in the district comprise of the ReTs, a general line teacher from Central Kashmir’s Budgam district told Kashmir Reader that the strike “obviously affected the academic work” at the schools.
“Even if they are not on strike, the teachers while teaching inside classrooms are agitated as they are without salaries for months now,” added the teacher.
The strike of the ReTs had “to a large extent” affected the studies of students at over 1,200 schools where the protesting teachers were posted in the district, Chief Education Officer, Baramulla, Abdul Ahad Ganai said.
“The maximum number of teachers in the district comprises of ReTs. We have 1,200-1,300 elementary schools where the ReTs are posted. Obviously, the academic work will suffer there,” Ganai added.
Although they did not get any formal complaints from the schools about academic work getting affected due to the strike, Chief Education Officer, Kulgam, Ashok Kumar Saniyal said, “But we know that there is a problem if a teacher does not turn up at the school.”
With around 1,400 ReTs posted in the South Kashmir district, Saniyal said, “Even if a single teacher goes on strike, it will have an effect.”
However, the ReT teachers’ strike has not had much effect on schools in the education zones of Srinagar, in-charge CEO, Srinagar, Mudassir Kaleem Fazli claimed.
“We have a very small number of ReTs posted in Srinagar as compared to rural areas where they are in very large numbers, so it does not affect us much,” Fazli said.
While they held protest demonstrations in their respective zones on Thursday, the teachers said that they would mobilize civil society in the Valley to press for their demands.
“The government is playing delay tactics over our demands. We are forced to go on strike, otherwise we don’t want to remain absent in classes and hit roads every now and then,” Mukhtar Ahmad, a protesting teacher from Pulwama district, said.
“The government is responsible for the loss of students’ studies, otherwise we also don’t want to waste the precious time of students,” said Irshad Ahmad, an ReT teacher from North Kashmir’s Baramulla district.
Rehbar-e-Taleem teachers Zone Hariganwan in Ganderbal district working under centrally sponsored Scheme Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) on Thursday protested here against delinking their salaries and demanded release of pending wages.
The protesting teachers assembled in front of the ZEO office here and demanded delinking of their salaries. Holding placards in their hands and raising anti-government slogans and expressed strong resentment against the government for not fulfilling their genuine demands.
Our main demand is delinking of SSA salaries from Central MHRD plan and creating budgetary posts for SSA teachers under state’s normal plan, so that teachers get salaries at the end of every month”, said Imtiyaz Ahmad a protesting teacher.
“We are pushed to wall and our families are facing starvation. The delay in release of salary has made life hell,” Zonal President ReT Teachers Forum Khurshid Ahmad Bajard said.
Meanwhile Rehbar-e-Taleem (ReT) teachers on Thursday held a strong protest in Hajin area north Kashmir’s Bandipora district over their pending monthly salaries from past Several months.
With input from Sheikh Anees/Mir Gowhar