Demand hike in salary, risk allowance, job security
Srinagar, Nov 23: The Educational Volunteers (Teachers) working in mobile schools in tough terrains of hilly areas of Kashmir are paid a meagre stipend that too for only six months with no job security at all.
Around 1159 Educational Volunteers (Teachers) has been engaged by the government for taking care of these mobile schools and to provide quality education to the nomadic children who otherwise would remain illiterate.
Those studying in these schools are the children of the migratory population of Gujjars, Bakerwals and Shepherds, the government had envisaged a scheme in late 1970s called Mobile Schools, now known as Seasonal Schools.
These schools were closed down after the onset of armed struggle, but the PDP – Congress Government (2002-2008) again made the Mobile Seasonal schools operational in different hilly districts of J&K.
At present such schools are operational in Poonch, Rajouri, Doda, Budgam, Shopian, Kupwara, Baramulla, Kargil and few other districts of the State. Nearly 40,000 plus students are enrolled in these schools.
“The Government through the respective Zonal Educational Office takes services of local educated youth known as “Educational Volunteers (EV). These volunteer teachers are provided a monthly stipend of Rs 4000. In addition to this each mobile school is provided with few tents,” a group of teachers said.
The volunteer teachers are deputed to various places where there is sufficient nomadic and migratory population and the children are enrolled on spot and the schools start their academic session from May onwards which continues till October, they said.
But these volunteer teachers who work in hilly areas and tough terrains face a multitude of problems.
“We are engaged for a period of six months only and from the last many years we have been demanding for their job security. We are being paid a monthly salary (stipend) of Rs 4000 and from 2004 till date there has been no revision in this stipend. The salaries of Government officials have been increased under 6th pay commission but we have been totally ignored,” said the aggrieved teachers.
The teachers demand job security and continuation of their empanelment for the whole academic year, in addition to it they want some risk allowance must be provided to them.
Even then Member Parliament G N Ratanpuri, who was a Member Consultative Committee of Ministry of Human Recourse Development (MHRD), had assured the Mobile Seasonal teachers that this matter would be taken up by him with Ministries of HRD & Labour in New Delhi, but nothing happened later.
Director School Education DR G N Yatoo said it is a component of SSA and only they can take a call on it. “Also these schools work only for six months and then they move,” he said.
Director SSA, A R War said these aren’t sanctioned posts. “This is not a job. It is a volunteer service as the name itself denotes,” he said.
Asked if there is any good news for them in the future, he said, “As of now there is nothing but let’s hope for the best.” (KNS)