Geha Nath Gautam, 57, spent 33 years working as a temporary teacher at Baraha Secondary School in Kaski. He is among the teachers who have been participating in a protest programme launched by the Temporary Teachers Struggle Committee (TTSC) in Kathmandu for the last four months demanding that they should be given permanent status.
Although Gautam passed the written exams taken to appoint in the post of permanent teacher three times, he could not get through the oral exams.
He said that he failed the oral exams due to political reason.
Gautam said during the time of Panchayat he was accused of working against the Panchayat and was prevented from getting the permanent status and during the multi-party democratic system he had no access to the powerful party leaders to pass the exams.
Had he been a permanent school teacher, he would have got compulsory retirement the next year. But, even at the old age, he has been fighting with authorities to get justice. Like Gautam, many other temporary teachers working in public schools have been staying in Kathmandu for months to participate in demonstrations in front of the Education Ministry in Keshar Mahal.
"Hundreds other teachers like me have been working on temporary basis for over two decades," said Gautam, "Such teachers cannot compete with the new generation. So, a separate internal competition is a must to give us permanent status."
Nani Baba Adhikari, 36, of Matatirtha, Kathmandu, has also similar tale to share. She has been working in Mahalaxmi Lower Secondary School as temporary teachers for the last 18 years. Her attempt to become a permanent teacher failed as she also could not pass the oral exams.
Sushila Thapa has been teaching English at Gandhi Adarsha Secondary school for the past 19 years but has been unable to get the
permanent status despite sitting in the exams two times.
Around 25,000 temporary teachers like Gautam, Thapa and Adhikari from across the country have been facing similar problem.
The teachers constituted a struggle committee in 1998 and have been launching protest programme for the last 12 years. They have been continuously demonstrating for the last four months demanding that they should be appointed as permanent teachers counting their service period following a special process.
Adhikari said that the study of the students was hampered while the teachers were compelled to stage protest for a long time. She urged the concerned authorities to respect the contribution of the temporary teachers by meeting their demands.
The government has not created any vacancies for the permanent teachers since 1999 which resulted in an acute shortage of competent teachers in public schools across the country.
According to Janardan Sharma, Spokesperson at the Ministry, a proposal regarding the problems of temporary teachers would be tabled in the cabinet.
He said that the bill would address the demands of the agitating teachers.
However, the TTSC has planned a demonstration of the teachers in the capital on 12th and 13th May.
Earlier, the TTSC had submitted 1, 00, 000 signatures to Education Minister Gangalal Tuladhar demanding that the temporary teachers should be given the permanent status.
(Source: The Rising Nepal)