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“This was not the first time that ad-hoc teachers protested on streets”: SPYF

The notification from the Education Department, Government of Sikkim that announced mandatory interview for ad-hoc teaching positions was received with great hostility among the teachers who had been appointed in the year of 2020. This notification meant that they had to once again go through the interview and selection process as their contract came to an end. The State witnessed a large group of teachers gathering in protest against this decision at the capital on June 28, 2021. They demanded to be exempted from the interview for the same posts they had held till a month ago. 

One of the teacher in the protest said, “ we have already gone through the interview process last year, and again we have to sit for interview according to the notification”

Further to which, SPYF were the first one to condemn the notification, 

SPYF made a press release on the incident on July 1  reminding the people of Sikkim that this was not the first time that ad-hoc teachers were taking to the streets to protest. Issues pertaining to ad-hoc teachers had always existed. 

The very idea of ad-hoc teaching positions gained prominence with the commercialization of education, and hence Institutions and Governments used it to seek employees at lesser pay scales. Ad-hoc teachers are mostly paid a per-class basis, and they are not entitled to any perks and privileges a regular/full-time employee would enjoy. And as ad-hoc teachers, there is always a sense of insecurity and instability that leaves the teachers silence and anxious. 

The issue raised by the ad-hoc teachers who were appointed in 2020, according to SPYF, is a simple case of harassment. If only new people were interviewed, it would still make sense; but to interview people who were selected and been serving in duty for a year seems to be the issue at concern. SPYF condemned this act by the government and also expressed its desire to witness a fair and transparent selection process. 

Another issue on which concern was expressed is the policy to regularize ad-hoc teachers who had completed eight years of uninterrupted service (as a one-time relaxation policy). The concern with this practice is that there will not be recruitment of permanent teachers then. SPYF feels such a practice would embolden the party in power to suppress any dissent whatsoever and monopolize political support in their favour. 

SPYF during their press release suggested certain measures in order to tackle the issue of ad-hoc teachers. They strongly condemned the notification that demanded existing ad-hoc teachers to go through the interview process over again and suggested the following measures.

“Keep the ad-hoc recruitment to the minimum and conduct interviews for regular posts. Interview for permanent posts should be conducted every few years. And with the kind of inflation, we are going through, increase the salary of Ad-hoc employees and ensure that ad-hoc teachers are not forced to sit for the interview again and again for the same post.” added the statement 

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