By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, Nov 6: A simple question that raises many an eyebrow in circles concerned in the State is: as many as 75,000 Sanjogi Siksha Karmis (SSKs) were appointed as teachers without holding any TET in 2010 in West Bengal, why is such a move not taken in Assam to secure the future of around 5,000 SSKs who had to lose the prime time of their lives to bring school dropouts back to schools?
The All Assam Sanjogi Siksha Karmi (SSK) Union today held its executive meeting in the city, and wrote an open letter to State Education Minister Himanta Biswa requesting him to secure their future by appointing them as teachers and raising the issue of their reappointment in the forthcoming winter session of the State Assembly.
Initially as many as 10,633 SSKs were given appointment in Assam so as to bring school dropouts back to mainstream schools. In fiscal 2005-06 the SSA Mission formed Gaon Shiksha Samitis and Cha Bagicha Siksha Samitis in the villages and tea estates in the state following a notification from the Governor of Assam. The siksha samitis then appointed Sanjogi Shiksha Karmis (SSKs) on merit basis and set up Sanjogi Shiksha Kendras. Each of them got Rs 1,000 to Rs 3,000 as honorarium. The SSKs served well and made a large number of school dropouts to come back to the mainstream schools. However, from 2011 to March 31, 2012 Dispur started appointing teachers by holding TET, but did not think of the SSKs’ future. The SSKs lost their jobs.
The leaders of the union say that when they were working as SSKs they got other facilities and they were made to perform government duties on occasions like 2007 panchayat poll and 2011 socio-economic census.
“After losing our jobs, we started our agitation since 2009 when many parties and organizations, including the BJP, supported our cause,” the leaders of the union said, and added: “On February 23, 2016 we had talks with then Education Minister Sarat Barkataky. The minister assured us of appointment in phases. He said that we would be given priority while filling up any vacancies in the Education Department. Even the government examined our documents thoroughly, but did precious little.”
After the BJP-led government coming to power in the State, the leaders of the union said, they held two rounds of talks with present Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma in June and October this year. “The minister assured us of looking into our demand, but we’re yet to get appointment. We request the minister to secure our future through appointment,” they said, and added: “In 2010 the West Bengal Government appointed as many 75,000 SSKs as regular teachers without holding any TET. If a neighbouring State can take such a step, why can’t the Assam government take such a benign step?”