With the annual Board and university examinations looming on the horizon, teachers with an agenda have seized the strategic timing to issue intimidations of boycott to the government.
The first to attempt the boycott this year are the junior college teachers across the state, who have threatened the state government that if their ‘long-pending’ demands are not fulfilled, they will boycott the Higher School Certificate (HSC) examinations, including oral and practical exams that are scheduled to start from February 3.
Under the banner of Pune District Junior College Teachers’ Organisation, around 1,000 teachers participated in the protest held at Shaniwarwada on Monday.
“Last year, we boycotted the evaluation of the HSC answer sheets. At that time, both the chief minister and the school education minister had given us written promises that they would fulfill our demands right away. But almost a year later, nothing has been done. So we have no option but to boycott the Board exams,” Kiran Khajekar, a junior college teacher of Abasaheb Garware College and chairman of the teachers’ organistaion said.
As many as 60,000 teachers from junior colleges in the state have been agitating for demands like implementation of a three-tier pay scale from 1996 and implementation of the fifth pay scale from 1996.
Last year, after the commencement of Std 12 exams, junior teachers across the state had boycotted evaluation of papers for as many as 42 days.
It seems that the state government is left with no option but to fulfill all the demands of the teachers to avoid chaos during Board exams, which are just a fortnight away.
“We have given our memorandum to deputy director of education, Suman Shinde, and asked her to convey the message to the government,” Khajekar said.
Shinde confirmed that she has received the letter from the teachers’ association and will be forwarding it to the state government.
“Calling for protests by picking a critical time near important exams has become a trend in the past few years. The state government has to take strict action against the protesters, who are gambling with the future of lakhs of students. When the matter is between the state government and the teachers, why are they unnecessarily dragging students in it?” said a parent.