Teachers and principals of the Morarji Desai Residential Schools and Navodaya Model Schools run by the State Social Welfare Department have decided to launch an indefinite hunger strike from Monday demanding regularisation of their services.

As many as 450 teachers from 394 schools across the State, who have been running from pillar to post for the past nine years to get their services regularised, will begin their fast at Bannappa Park in the city to draw the attention of the Government during the State legislature session, which resumes on Monday, after a week’s gap.

Addressing presspersons here on Saturday, Sharanu Gulbarga, president, Morarji Desai Residential Schools and Navodaya Model Schools’ Teachers and Principals Horata Samiti, said although the BJP Government, which had regularised services of doctors working on contract basis, had promised several times that teachers services would be regularised, a decision had not been taken.

Minister for Home V.S. Acharya had assured the legislature that the Government would regularise services of teachers hired on contract basis. The elected representatives from the Teachers’ Constituencies and officials in the Social Welfare Department too favoured regularisation of services. But the State Cabinet had not yet taken a decision on the matter, Mr. Sharanu Gulbarga said.

Minister for Social Welfare D. Sudhakar had visited Gulbarga where the Morarji Desai Residential School Teachers were on indefinite hunger strike last year and had assured them that the Government would start the regularisation process soon. Instead of regularising their services, the Government had decided to fill teachers’ vacancies through the Karnataka State Public Service Commission, the teachers said.

Compared to government schools, the pass percentage in the Morarji Desai Residential Schools is exceptionally high as modern teaching methods had been adopted by teachers. Teachers were recruited after they passed the State-level competitive examinations. They were appointed on the basis of their merit and roster system was followed, he said.

Even they were appointed after following all procedures, they work as contract teachers and were not paid salaries during in April and May when they were relieved from service.

Once again in June the same teachers were reappointed on contract for another academic year. This is a regular feature year after year, Mr. Gulbarga said.

Noting the salary disparity between permanent teachers and contract teachers, he said there was no encouragement to teach if the Government continued to exploit them by denying all facilities which were being given to permanent teachers. While permanent teaches were being paid more than Rs. 13,000 a month, those on contract paid Rs. 6,500 and they did not enjoy the benefits such as provident fund and pension, he said.

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