Ad-hoc teachers continue protest – 50 teachers of sikkim’s East District join stir on fourth day

The Statesman



Gangtok, 25 October
The protest against the Teachers Eligibility Test by the ad-hoc teachers continues in Sikkim with
protestors demanding cancellation of the scheduled Test Exam branding it an intentional ‘suppression’ of their aspirations by the state government.
The test is scheduled to be held on 24 November by the department of human resource development.
Around 50 teachers of the East District have gathered outside the district administrative complex on the fourth day of the chalk/pen down strike called by the All Sikkim Ad-hoc Teachers Welfare Association. Of them, four teachers, including the outfit’s president, vice president and the general secretary, are on hunger strike.
“We are aware that TET is must as per the Right to Education Act 2009. However, the state government can bypass the norms of the RTE under the special provision given to the state under article 371-F of the Constitution,” said Mr Ashish Lepcha, ASATWA’s general secretary.
“If they cannot overrule the norms of the RTE they can scrap the National Board and create a state board to make necessary changes in the TET criteria,” he added.
He further said the state government has suddenly come up with the TET after continuing with the old policy of recruiting new teachers for years to suppress the long-standing demands being raised by the association.
The vice president of the association, Mr Khemraj Thangsing, said that other states like Assam conducts TET without setting specific criteria.
“Even the non-B. Ed candidates sit for the Test,” he said.
The president of the association, Mr Prakash Sha, said it is wrong to equate their strike with the Opposition’s campaign despite the strike being supported by several political parties.
“The civil society is in the van of the stir and it has nothing political about it. We are not being coaxed or controlled by any political party,” he asserted.
There are around 2,300 ad-hoc teachers from all the four districts of Sikkim
presently.

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