Kejriwal asked to regularise temporary teachers with immediate effect

Extending support to thousands of teachers working on contractual basis in Delhi Government-run schools, the Congress on Wednesday threw its weight behind them with top Congress leaders, including Pradesh Congress Committee chief Arvinder Singh, joining the protest by guest teachers at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.

Incidentally, a large number of teachers were appointed on contract by the previous Sheila Dikshit-led government and regularisation of all contractual employees — even in other government departments — has been a long pending demand. It became a major poll issue and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) included it as one of the major highlights of its manifesto ahead of the recently-concluded Assembly elections.

Congress leaders on Wednesday asked the Arvind Kejriwal Government to implement the poll manifesto and regularise temporary teachers with immediate effect or else the party will gherao the Delhi Secretariat.

Justifying their support, the Congress leaders claimed that the Sheila Dikshit government wanted to regularise those on contract and was working on those lines but was “thrown out of power”.

“Our government decided to hire guest teachers as the appointment process through the subordinate service board is lengthy and time-taking. Our government was exploring the mechanism of regularising them either by moving a Cabinet note or formulating a policy. Though we did not include it in our election manifesto, we were determined to regularise them,” said Mr. Singh, who was the Delhi Education Minister when the guest teachers were hired.

Apart from Mr. Singh, others including Congress Legislative Party leader Haroon Yusuf, senior leader Mukesh Sharma, Delhi Mahila Congress president Onika Mehrotra and Delhi NSUI president Amit Malik joined the protest at Jantar Mantar.

While over a hundred guest teachers protested at Jantar Mantar on Wednesday, hundreds of them have been protesting outside the Secretariat for the last nine days. The teachers have stopped attending schools, which re-opened last week, and even marched to Education Minister Manish Sisodia’s residence in Patparganj last week to press for their demand.

“The contract of all guest teachers will terminate on May 10. Our demand is very clear. If the government requires time to enrol us on a permanent basis, we are fine with it. But they should at least renew our contract so that we do not become unemployed after May 10. When we met the Education Minister, he said he will regularise the vacancies. That doesn’t solve our purpose,” said Rahul Sharma, a guest teacher with Boys Senior Secondary School in Daryaganj.

As per estimates, there are over 10,000 guest teachers and another 8,000 temporary teachers, who have been hired on contract by the Delhi Government. While guest teachers are paid between Rs.600-Rs.800 per day as per their qualification, temporary teachers have an 11-month contract and are paid a monthly salary.

The AAP Government has maintained that it is looking into the legal and financial implications of regularising all employees working on contract. Conceding that the maximum number of people who turned up at his Janta Durbar were those working on a contractual basis, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had sought one month’s time to resolve the issue.

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