Block grant teachers to boycott HSC exams

Bhubaneswar: Block grant teachers’ association said on Monday the teachers would not participate in any government work apart from taking classes.

Following release of 38 block grant teachers from jail who were arrested on Friday while marching towards the residence of the Chief Minister, the teachers’ association president Prashant Mohapatra said its members would neither participate in the conduct of annual HSC examinations nor evaluate the papers.

Mohapatra added the teachers’ association members along with their children will visit each house in Hinjilikatu, the home constituency Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

Earlier in the day, pressing for the fulfillment of their demand for job regularisation and protesting the arrest of some of their fellow teachers, block grant teachers gheraoed the official quarters of School and Mass Education minister Debi Mishra, Finance Minister Pradip Amat, Health minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak and Law Minister Arun Sahoo here.

“Committee after committee and meeting after meeting. But we did not get any results. When we staged demonstration to fulfill our demand, government engaged police forces to suppress our voice. Police assaulted us and arrested some teachers. Our struggle will continue till the demands are met,” a protesting teacher said. “We have also decided to boycott the forthcoming HSC examination and evaluation job,” he added.

“State government should give justice to teachers and employees of 2,608 block grant-in-aid schools and 167 high schools left out of the grant-in-aid system,” another agitating teacher said.

Thousands of teachers, who have been on strike for the last one and a half months, had marched towards the chief minister’s residence on Friday. Police stopped them at Sishu Bhawan Square, but the teachers tried to break the police cordon. Later, police lathicharged the teachers to disperse them. Around 40 teachers were injured in lathicharge.

As many as 38 teachers were arrested for clashing with the police and forwarded to court.

On Saturday, the teachers gheraoed the residences of seven ministers, who are part of the inter-ministerial committee formed to look after the teachers issues, in separate groups. The committee members gheraoed include Finance minister Pradeep Amat, Health minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak, Energy minister Pranab Prakash Das, Food minister Sanjay Dasburma, Law minister Arun Sahoo and Parliamentary affairs minister Bikram Keshari Arukh.

The government had constituted the inter-ministerial committee to look into their demands for early solution of the issue within two months. Now four months have already passed, but nothing has been done,” a member of the Block-grant teachers’ association said.

A teacher, Binay Das, said the state should give justice to teachers and employees of 2,608 block grant-in-aid schools and 167 left out high schools from the grant-in-aid system. “We will continue our demonstration till our demands are met,” he said.