Teachers of 177 unaided government recognised schools in Odisha, who have been carrying out their duties without salary for several years, staged protest in Bhubaneswar demanding grants from the State government.
According to reports, around 550 such schools were set up in rural areas in the 90s by some local leaders. While several of the schools got recognition and were selected for grant-in-aid by the State government after fulfillment of required norms, as many as 177 schools among those were left out. Several teachers are still teaching in these schools without salaries for the sake of their love for teaching.
These qualified and trained teachers are going through a harrowing time amid serious financial constraints. They are struggling through challenges posed by Covid-19 pandemic. Unable to meet their treatment cost, many ailing teachers have also passed away.
“We have been teaching relentlessly for the last 25 years with the hope that our schools will be recognised for grant-in-aid by the government. But the government has not paid any attention to our ordeal,” said Pankaj Kumar Parida, a teacher from Rajnagar High School, Athgarh.
“When we are struggling to make both our ends meet despite giving our blood and sweat for teaching for several years, there is no meaning of ‘Teacher’s Day’ for us,” said Parida.
Meanwhile, Odisha Secondary School Teachers’ Association (OSSTA) has extended its support to the protesting teachers.
(Edited by Rashmi Ranjan Mohanty)