So, finally a sigh of relief for thousands of SSA Rahber-e- Taleem teachers of Jammu and Kashmir. They were routinely left salary-less for months together and tragically were denied the 7th pay commission benefits of April 2018. The governor administration has issued an SRO, number 20 of education; dated 22 January 2019, to give them the 7th pay commission benefits and created a separate cadre called ‘Teacher Grade second’ (TGS) to accommodate these ReT teachers.
Though this new designation is welcome, yet it is a bed of thorns for these teachers.
As TGS, the teachers will expectedly get salaries in time so that they and their families do not suffer for months together for their wages. Hence, the governor administration has really taken a social welfare measure to bring these state citizens out of the psychological trauma, depression and the financial crisis which they suffer when left unpaid for three to seven months. Right now, they have been salary-less since August.
The welfare step has also ended the dark night of uncertainty and job insecurity of these thousands of educated people who have been courageously teaching at the elementary level in the state schools. Besides, these teachers have attended census, election, BLO duty and even taught at the high schools and higher secondary schools. In the process, these teachers have routinely remained unpaid for five to eight months from the last eight years.
However, the TGS designation is fraught with some things which could have been avoided. Not removing those avoidable things have again exposed that our work culture is still far away from excellence.
The SSA teachers (now TGS) were expecting that the SRO will heal the wounds that they have been nursing under SSA ever since the day they were appointed as ReTs and later on designated as RReTs (RegularizedRahber-e- Taleems). But the hopes have been dashed to ground.
It is pertinent to mention that as ReTs or RReTs, these teachers work shoulder to shoulder with the teachers surprisingly known as General Line Teachers (GLTs) at the elementary, secondary or with the plus 2 lecturers at the higher secondary level. Yet these teachers were scornfully called as ‘RTs’ and in official statements were shown as Rets/RReTs not teachers. Although there was no disparity in terms of work assigned to all the categories of teachers, there was a disparity in designation and official recognition.
Forget not, the regularization orders issued by the Directorates-once an Ret completed his/her initial five years- read these teachers as GLTs, not RRTs. The Ret /RReTs label has hurt these teachers deeply.
Now the TG’s label can prove another weapon to psychologically hurt these teachers at school at the administrative level. The term TG’s clearly shows that the administration has not treated these teachers at par with the other categories of teachers and so they will remain a separate category of teachers in terms of designation though not in work assignment.
Moreover, the SRO has denied the transfer of the TGs except on mutual basis in exceptional circumstances. Such circumstances have not been explained while no transfer is a clear sign of not treating these teachers at par with the GLTs. Why this discrimination if TG’s will now work under the state budget as well? Why no transfer facility to these teachers if transfer is a must for an employee.
The SRO further says that new orders will be issued to the RReT’s to be converted as TGs after the verification of their documents, including CID verification and even joining report as Rets, to be submitted to the district committee and later on to the divisional committee. Why make these teachers suffer for salaries till new CID certificates come when they have already filed such certificates at their regularization some 10 to 15 years back. Besides, these teachers already have service books prepared after satisfactory verification of their documents. Why lengthen this process of making them TG’s?
Most importantly, the SRO says nothing about the immediate paying of five –month pending salaries to these teachers. Also about the future source of salaries, the SRO says nothing at all.
Tragically, the SRO says nothing about the payment of pay commission arrears, due from January 1, 2016, to these teachers serving the state like the other employees. The administration had recruited them through a proper procedure. Denying these arrears is injustice with them.
Hope, the authorities revisit the SRO to treat the SSA teachers as GLTs, not as TGs. There should be no categorization of teachers as they all serve the same state equally. Let’s learn to respect our teachers.
—The author can be reached at: Sheikhshabir518@gmail.com