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The case of the extended shakhas: Now there will be only one “Teacher Cadre” in MP

Lalit Shastri

In Madhya Pradesh, the schools are now extended “Shakhas”, and one does not require space science to prove it if one is aware of the milieu of the BJP.

Bhopal: Within days of a poor showing in municipal elections across several districts and confronted by a strong protest by contractual teachers demanding equal pay for equal work, with teachers even shaving off their heads in the capital to register their protest, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced on Sunday (January 21) that different cadres of teachers in the State will be merged and now there will be only one Teacher cadre in the state education department.

The CM’s announcement is being viewed as a political exigency as Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections are due later this year and the BJP faces the anti-incumbency factor.

Facilities available to the teachers will be given to all the merged cadres the chief minister went on to announce. He was addressing the office bearers of teachers’ associations and the teachers at CM House in the State capital.The Chief Minister announced that the latest decision will benefit about 3 lakh persons belonging to the teachers and other cadres.

Under the new dispensation, the transfer policy will be applicable uniformly to the “teachers cadre” and seniority order of gurujis will be recognised and the women teachers will be eligible for maternity leave -a facility available till now to the regular teachers.

Taking a dig at the previous Congress regime led by Digvijay Singh, when teachers were called “Shiksha karmis” (education workers), the chief minister said that his government has eradicated the “karmi culture” and taken several important decisions from 2004 onwards to establish new academic culture in the education sector.

Chouhan said that all the cadres included in the teacher cadre besides the regular teachers now have the responsibility to pay their full attention on the education of children.

The Chief Minister said that conventions on quality education will be organized at division level to ensure good examination results of government school students.

On theis occasion, the chief minister also announced that the state government has decided that the fees of the students, who score 70 percent and above marks in class 12th will be paid by the state government if they secure admissions in medical and engineering courses.

The latest decision about a single teacher cadre notwithstanding, there is widespread disenchantment, anger and frustration among the regular State Government teachers belonging to the general, minority and OBC categories. They have been suffering for last many years due to the State government’s highly discriminatory policy of “reservation in promotion”. Due to this rule, those from the unreserved category have been denied promotion and many teachers have retired without getting a single promotion during their entire career. On the other side, those from the SC/ST categories, who are rank juniors with adverse notes in their service record have been promoted to higher administrative posts within a short period of time and what is annoying the teachers from the unreserved and OBC category the most is that the Government, instead of implementing the High Court order declaring the reservation in promotion rule as unconstitutional, has challenged it in Supreme Court and has done everything to prolong the hearing in this matter.

The other categories of school education department employees,including those who have been recruited on adhoc basis as contractual teachers, who would now be treated as part of the Teacher cadre, sounds good on the surface. But those in knowledgeable circles are pointing out that mostly those close to ruling Bharatiya Janata Party leaders down the line have been recruited enmasse on adhoc basis during the last more than a dozen years and they would certainly stand to gain from the latest decision. In Madhya Pradesh, the schools are now extended “Shakhas”, and one does not require space science to prove it if one is aware of the milieu of the BJP.

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