Assam: TET teachers prefix ‘driver’ before their names, condemn minister’s remarks
GUWAHATI: In a unique form of protest, TET qualified (Teachers’ Eligibility Test) teachers in the state have prefixed ‘driver’ before their name on social media to condemn Assam education minister’s recent remarks where he compared TET teachers’ certificate to driver’s licence.
In a recent live radio interview with All India Radio, Guwahati, state education minister Siddhartha Bhattacharya while responding to a question by a TET-qualified teacher on air said that TET teachers will have to renew their qualification or the certificate of the examination, similar to drivers’ licence which needs to be renewed from time to time.
The minister has faced flak for his comment from the teachers as well as various student bodies in Assam.
Taking cue from Modi government’s #mainbhichowkidar campaign, the contractual teachers of Assam have taken on the prefix of ‘driver’ on their Facebook and Twitter handles.
There are close to 41,000 contractual teachers working in different parts of Assam who have been demanding regularisation of jobs for the past many years.
Talking to G Plus, Diparnav Ghosh, general secretary of TET teachers association said that they have started a movement, “All TET-passed teachers who are working in Assam are serving teachers, and we felt humiliated when the minister compared our certificate to driver’s licence as we have been continuously working since passing the examination.”
He added that they have strongly condemned the minister’s remarks for asking the teachers to re- appear for the examination. Teachers informed that after passing the examination and getting the certificate, if someone does not work, the certificate has a validity of seven years. In such a case, they would have to reappear for TET for a new certificate.
“However, in our case, it is unfair for us to take the examination again as we have been serving since receiving our certificates,” said Ghosh.
One of their major demands includes, “unconditional regularisation with full pay protection”.
In wake of Bhattacharya’s comments, the contractual teachers informed that they are renewing their demands of regularisation of their jobs.
The teachers have called for a state-wide agitation on Tuesday June 18. “All district committees of TET teachers will submit a memorandum to the chief minister through the respective deputy commissioners,” said Ghosh.
The TET teachers from across the state are planning to intensify their movement if the government fails to take any positive step for their welfare, they informed.
“If we do not receive a favourable response, all teachers from across the state will gather at Dispur in a ‘Chalo Dispur’ programme on June 29 to protest against the government for our long-standing demands,” said a teacher.
Student bodies criticize remark
On the other hand, the remark has also been slammed by student bodies in the state as many student organisations have condemned the minister’s comments and have extended their support to contractual teachers.
All Assam Students Union (AASU) general secretary, Lurinjyotri Gogoi, informed G Plus, “We strongly oppose the minister’s comments on TET teachers. They should be given due respect by the government as teaching is a very noble profession.”
He added that they are also supporting the teachers in their pursuit of regularisation of their services.
“The teachers who are working currently in Assam have earned their position on merit and talent. We have demanded that the authorities should take necessary steps in their regard,” said Gogoi.
Similarly, general secretary of Asom Jatijatabadi Yuba-Chatra Parishad (AJYCP), Palash Changmai said, “The minister should not have used such derogatory terms for teachers and the government should take strong steps to make them permanent.”
Siddhartha Bhattacharya (L) Driver prefixed names on FB (R)