The Ministry of Education (MoE) on Friday accepted three major demands of various agitating teacher associations, but fears remain that the stir could continue and possibly hamper the SLC exam.
During a meeting Friday, MoE said it would acknowledge the service period of temporary teachers while making them permanent through open competition, give permanent status to relief quota teachers and form an effective mechanism to monitor private schools.
However, the associations are demanding the three-point deal be signed by Education Minister in the presence of prime minister, chief whips of four major political parties, the house speaker and vice president of the National Planning Commission (NPC).
"Many education ministers struck many deals with us in the past, none of which have been implemented," said Ramesh Rupakheti, central committee member of All Nepal Teacher Organization (ANTO). "Therefore, we sought the presence of representatives of all major political parties to ensure that the new deal is realized. We refused to accept a deal just signed by education minister this time."
According to Rupakheti, if the new deal is not signed by Saturday, the agitating teacher associations will boycott the district-level exams of grade eight beginning from Sunday. "The exams boycotted by teachers will not be illegal," said Rupakheti. "The boycott of the grade eight exams will definitely lead to the disruption of the SLC exams."
On Friday, following a series of talks, the MoE decided to incorporate a new clause in the Education Act (1971), which is now being amended, to acknowledge the service period of temporary teachers in the process of making them permanent through internal competition.
"We had already promised to make all temporary teachers permanent by amending the act," Dr Rojnath Pandey, assistant spokesperson for the MoE, said. "Today, we accepted the demand of counting years served by temporary teachers while making them permanent."
The counting of years served by temporary teachers is a significant achievement of the agitating teacher associations. "If the service period of temporary teachers is acknowledged by the MoE, all those temporary teachers who have already spent 20-30 years in service will be entitled to pensions," Rupakheti said. "Otherwise, they will get nothing."
Similarly, setting up of an effective mechanism will force all private schools to provide salaries to private school teachers on par with their colleagues in public schools.
Currently, a secondary level teacher in public school gets monthly salary of Rs 18,000. But, private school teachers in the same level get as low Rs 4,000.
Meanwhile, teachers working in higher secondary schools called off their strike on Friday after the MoE promised to address their demands. Higher secondary schools were shut for the last four days due to the strike.
(Source: Republica National Daily)