Published: 03rd June 2022
Kerala government's appointment of teachers as sweepers invites notice from HR Commission
Kerala State Human Rights Commission Chairman has sent notices to the General Education Department secretary and the Directorate of Public Instruction regarding the matter
The Kerala State Human Rights Commission (KSHRC) has now intervened in an incident in which a national award-winning teacher was employed as a sweeper by the state government.
A case has been registered by KSHRC to the relief of the teacher, KR Usha Kumari, who has sought the aid of the commission through a petition. KSHRC Chairman Antony Dominic has also sent notices to the General Education Department secretary and the Directorate of Public Instruction.
The petition had been filed by Mujeeb Rahman PT of Prathikarana Vedi, a devotees' organisation of Kerala. It highlights the plight of Usha, who taught students for 23 years in a Multi-Grade Learning Centre (MGLC) at Kunnathumala, Amboori, which is a remote tribal area, and was then posted to work as a sweeper in the Government Higher Secondary School in Peroorkada, Thiruvananthapuram, after the tribal school was shut down on March 31 this year. Usha had to start her work as a sweeper from Wednesday, June 1, when the schools reopened in the state.
“It is an insult to her,” the petition by Rahman stated. It has also been mentioned in a report by TNIE that the state government, on March 31, closed down 272 MGLCs in tribal areas that employed 344 teachers in total. The move was part of the initiative to integrate tribal students to regular schools.
Fourteen MGLC teachers have joined schools in Attingal, Kilimanoor and Varkala as sweepers. Their salary scale starts at Rs 23,000, which is the only solace as they earned Rs 19,000 per month as MGLC teachers.
“We only demand that we be appointed to the office assistant post which has the same minimum basic qualification as that of MGLC teachers. There is also uncertainty regarding our pension. I taught in the MGLC for 23 years and have only six years until retirement in the new post. When our pension is calculated, our total years of service should be considered," Usha said, welcoming the KSHRC's interference.