Mrunal Manmay Dash

Marg, one of the main arterial roads in the Capital city, witnessed a unique protest on Friday when hundreds of teachers knelt down on the busy road touching their ears while cursing their academic qualification which rendered them jobless.

The teachers, belonging to the Trained Unemployed Teachers Association (OSSTET Qualified (PET, Hindi and Sanskrit) demanded filling up of vacancies for PET, Hindi and Sanskrit teachers in High schools across the State.

They said they resorted to the protest in order to express their displeasure over the failure of the government to fill vacancies for these subjects in schools in Odisha since long. As per reports, there has not been a single recruitment for teachers for these three subjects since 2014.

A woman aspirant (of the association) said that they felt like committing a mistake by studying hard to qualify the tests to become teachers. “We are kneeling down here as we are repenting for our mistake,” she said.

Kneeling down on the road while holding his ears, Subasis Sahu, another protestor said, “We have been writing to the State government regarding our demands since the last seven years. But, all our requests have fallen on deaf ears.”

“We are trained to teach students in schools. Despite having the requisite qualifications, the government is not considering us eligible for the vacant positions,” rued Sahu.

He said after completing B.Ed, the candidates were asked to appear the OTET examination. “Afterwards, we were asked to clear OSSTET which we did. However, even after complying with all instructions, we have been ignored for the last seven years,” he said.

He said the Finance Department has gone back on its’ promise to provide appointment letters in spite of approving recruitments since January this year.

Another protestor said that prior to the present protest, the aspiring teachers had organised hunger strike for 17 days following which applications for recruitment of 4445 teachers across Odisha had been approved by the Finance Department.

It is pertinent to mention here that the OSSTET qualified teachers had earlier staged hunger strike and held marathon protest at the Gandhi Marg for 125 days over their demand for job.