Contractual lower primary school teachers began their indefinite hunger strike today from Malki ground in protest against the government’s decision to terminate their services.
The government’s move to terminate the contractual LP school teachers came after the Meghalaya Teachers Eligibility Test (MTET) results were declared on February 25 last year.
According to the contractual teachers out of the 1,200 odd teachers who appeared the MTET, only 10 per cent of them passed the exam. The teachers said that the sudden move of the government to terminate them from their jobs have left many in the lurch since most are over-aged and would not be able to find another job.
President of the contractual lower primary school teachers, Dasuklang Dohtdong said that the reason their service of many years were suddenly terminated is because they did not passed the MTET.
Dohtdong said that though they have passed the Diploma in Elementary education (Dl.El.Ed) they were made to sit for the MTET.
Dl.El.Ed is conducted by the state board of Meghalaya in order to select a candidate on the basis of a merit list for the post of primary teachers in the state.
“MTET is just to test the teachers. It is more like a quiz,” she added.
Dohtdong said that to teach one needs experience and talent. “We are not saying those who are not fit should be allowed to teach but we have taught for many years. If now the government feels that we are not fit then why in the beginning they appointed us,” Dohtdong said.
She also appealed to the government to feel pity for them and not terminate their jobs. “We urge the government to turn to us and open alternate opportunities for us,” Dohtdong added.
Babitdor Hujon, from Domkseh, West Khasi Hills said that the teachers had to come to the streets to protest because the government refuses to accept them even after being in service for many years.
“The government judged us through the two-hour long MTET. Most of the teachers could not perform well and terminated us from the job,” Hujon said.
He said that the government suddenly terminated them without any notice.
Another affected teacher Arbihlang Suchiang from Jowai said that due to the sudden termination from the job they are facing difficulties to take care of their families.
“We have fulfilled many criteria like passing the Dl.El.Ed, obtained 45 per cent and above marks and we have been for many years in service,” Suchiang said.
She said that when the teachers appeared for the Dl.El.Ed, they were given chances to clear it but in the case of MTET they were given only one chance.
Suchiang said that the contractual lower primary school teachers should be given a chance to appear in ‘special teachers eligibility test’.