Junior college teachers finally call off strike

The higher secondary certificate (HSC) students across the state can now heave a huge sigh of relief, as the 60,000 teachers who had boycotted assessment of examination papers on account of long-standing unmet demands have withdrawn their strike. The strike retraction came on Wednesday evening, after a written assurance from the government talking of a settlement in the next few months. The teachers, in turn, promised to begin checking the papers from today, March 14, and make an effort to ensure that the results come out on time.

Anil Deshmukh, general secretary of Maharashtra Federation of Junior College Teachers Organisation (MFJCTO), said, “We have been having meetings with School Education Minister Rajendra Darda, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar for the last two days. Finally on Wednesday evening our demands were accepted.”

“Three of our most important demands namely, maternity leave of 180 days to shikshan sevaks without increasing shikshan sevak period, grants over and above salary for educational institutions, and restoration of salary for 43 days of strike period have been approved. Also, we have been assured that diploma in higher education (DHE) will be on par with B Ed for the appointment of vice-principal and supervisors. The remaining demands will be approved within a span of three months,” he said.

Sunil Purnapatre, president of Thane District Junior College Teachers Association, said, “We are very happy that the government has finally taken the demands of the teachers seriously. We would begin the students’ paper assessment soon.” Minister Darda said, “After several meetings with the teachers’ organisation, we have decided that their demands would be fulfilled within the next few months. It is good that they have promised to resume checking the papers soon.” 

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