Bihar: No Mid-Day Meal In 45,000 Schools As Contractual Teachers Go On Strike

Demanding equal pay as permanent teachers, over 3.5 lakh contract school teachers in Bihar have been on strike since February 17.

4 March 2020 4:13 AM GMT / Updated : 2020-03-04T13:18:17+05:30
Editor : Shubhendu Deshmukh | By : Reethu Ravi
Bihar Teachers Strike

Image Credits: Patrika

The ongoing strike by contract teachers in Bihar has taken a toll on nearly 45,000 schools with student attendance dropping by 70 to 80 per cent and the discontinuation of the midday meal scheme, reported The Indian Express.

Demanding equal pay as permanent teachers, over 3.5 lakh contract school teachers in Bihar have been on strike since February 17. In a bid to pressurise the government to agree to their demands, the teachers have been discouraging students from attending school.

At present, while a contract teacher gets a salary ranging from ₹18,000-30,000 per month, government teachers get a monthly salary of ₹60,000-₹90,000. According to the state government, the teachers' demand for "equal pay for equal work" has been rejected by the Supreme Court.

"Contract teachers have been trying to blackmail us. Since the Supreme Court has made it clear that they cannot be given equal pay, they should rest the matter. It is true that evaluation, teaching and mid-day meals are affected, but we are working on a long-term solution," Krishna Nandan Prasad Verma, Bihar Education Minister, was quoted by the media.

As there are only 73,000 permanent government teachers, nearly all the school in the state depends on contract teachers. As at least 30 per cent of these schools have contract teachers as in-charge headmasters, these schools are not running, a senior official of the education department said.

"Our strike has already affected the Class 10 examination and evaluation. If the government does not concede to our demand, we will not assist the government in the proposed NPR exercise in May," said Shatrughan Prasad Singh, Secretary, Bihar Secondary School Teachers Association.

Earlier, over 400 striking teachers were suspended and FIRs were registered against several teachers for "indiscipline" and for not joining the ongoing evaluation of answer sheets for the Class 12 examinations.

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Reethu Ravi

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