Decoding SSA teachers' regularisation

There will be no new creation of teaching jobs in J&K education department for next 15 years!

The J&K government’s decision to regularise teachers recruited under erstwhile Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) has triggered unending protests from unemployed educated youth of J&K. an order issued by state administrative council (SAC) in last week of January accorded sanction for creation of grade-II cadre of teachers in school education department, with effect from September 2018. It also approved creation of 28,363 existing and anticipated vacant posts of General Line Teachers (GLTs) to equivalent number of posts of grade-11 teachers. This was done to absorb the SSA teachers on sustentative posts in the department in order to make them eligible for all service benefits like other state employees working in different government department. Besides, the government has approved conversion of 4522 direct quota of non-teaching posts in different categories to an equivalent number of posts of teachers- Grade II. Though the decision resolved the long pending demand of the SSA teachers for releasing their salary, as per 7th pay commission grade and de-linking it from MHRD funding, on the other hand it has closed the opportunities of government job in the department for next 15 years. In wake of the SAC decision, the educated unemployed youth of J&K have been staging protests, demanding revocation of the SAC order. “We are not against regularisation of SSA teachers but the government should have not converted available vacancies for adjustment them. It is sheer injustice with educated unemployed youth of the state,” said Mukhtar Ahmad from Bandipora. The unemployed youth accuse the government for adjusting the in-service teachers of department at the cost of the future of thousands of unemployed candidates who won’t be able to seek jobs in the department for next 15 years. “We understand miseries of SSA teachers and their demand, but the government should have chosen some other option for resolving their issue. Why should un-employed youth bear the brunt of their regularization?” asked Mukhtar. Earlier the SSA teaching fraternity was at war path with the state government for its decision not to include extend 7th pay commission benefits to them. The previous PDP-led coalition government in April 2018 implemented 7th pay commission for all state employees except SSA teachers, head teachers and RMSA masters, despite utilising their services in the department for past more than 15 years. The move enraged the teachers who were continuously hitting streets to press for their demands. Later the teaching fraternity started their indefinite hunger strike, forcing the government to fulfill their demands. It was followed by formal approval by the administration. The SSA teachers were recruited by the government under erstwhile SSA since 2003 on the analogy of ReT teachers. In the government order issued in January it was stated that the creation of Grade-II for teacher was approved on the conditions that the posts shall be filled up to 100 percent by selection of regularised Rehbar-e-Taleem (RReT) teachers, having graduation as minimum qualification from a recognised university. The order states that the post shall constitute a distant cadre till all eligible RReT, transited to the post of teachers grade II, vacate these posts due to resignation, superannuation, death, promotion or otherwise automatically after the last incumbent vacate the posts. The school education department issued formal orders for regularisation of SSA teachers after the SAC ordered for closure of ReT scheme in the state. “The finance department was not willing to regularise the SSA teachers as it had to manage whooping funds for their salary. That is why the education department was asked to close the ReT scheme as it was being misused by elected government to please vote bank and recruit people,” a top official in the department said. He however said there will be “no recruitment for next 15 years as it will take long time for these posts to become vacant”. “This is the only darker side of the decision as posts won’t be referred to SSRB for further recruitment. There is only one hope that if the elected government in future converts these posts into supernumerary and go for direct recruitment again,” the official said. He acknowledged though unemployed youth were hitting roads against the decision, the government had no other option than to go ahead with it. “It would have created a mess if it was not resolved,” he said. He said the finance department has to arrange additional funds of Rs 1500 crore for these teachers which they agreed to pay by freezing recruitment for few years. “But may be the next political government will reverse the decision and unfreeze the recruitment,” the official said. Secretary school education department Ajit Kumar Sahu however defended the government decision citing that posts were converted as “temporary arrangement” only for making seats available to adjust SSA teachers. “Everything will be restored to their original position with the passage of time,” he said. He said the new jobs opportunities will be created for educated unemployed youth as the department was in process of up gradation of middle and high schools. “We are also introducing new subjects like Bodhi and Kashmiri and are mulling to introduce commerce stream besides other subjects at higher secondary level,” he said.