Published: 03rd September 2021
Out of job for 2 months, 860 ad-hoc govt school teachers in Sikkim protest for extension until next phase of interviews
The teachers have been unemployed and the education department has assured interviews only on October 3
A video of a man being dragged out of a building by the police did its rounds on social media. The individual, a teacher, was being dragged out of a Secretariat building in Sikkim during a protest. Around 860 ad-hoc government school teachers from various districts of Sikkim have been protesting at the Secretariat in Tashling. They want the government to extend their tenure which expired on June 30. The state had assured them that they would be interviewed again and would be employed for a longer term of eight years. It's been two months since.
The teachers have been unemployed and the education department has assured interviews only on October 3. The protesting teachers want temporary appointments till then and are still protesting. "We had first come to the Secretariat on June 20 and met the Education Secretary who assured us that the government wants to conduct another set of interviews even though we had just gone through one round of interviews in 2020. We agreed because we were told the employment will be for the next eight years, at the end of which we would be absorbed as a permanent employee," said Rinzing Norbu, who teaches Political Science at a government school.
The teachers were told that they would be interviewed in the first week of July and they would be back to work soon after. But there was not written assurance. "We believed the Secretary. But that turned out to be a mistake. We visited him again in August and we have turned away with the same promise. This time he told us that there was a shortage of manpower and that COVID-19 was to blame for the delay but assured us, yet again that we would be called for the interview soon," added Rinzing.
When the Secretary did not deliver on his promise, the teachers stormed the Secretariat on September 1 and refused to leave until the issue was resolved. "We had decided to not leave the premises. At around 9 PM, the SDM came and told us that Section 144 was being implemented on the premises. We said that we would also go to jail if needed but we won't leave without a resolution of the matter. Things escalated when a teacher had a verbal spat with the SDM. The teacher was accused of being inebriated. The police were putting him inside when a few of us decide to step into the vehicle as well. The others interveined soon and we were dropped right outside the gate," said one of the teachers.