KSTEW has acquired a respectable position by actively participating and collaborating with their policy making and implementation process with apex national educational organizations like National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE). KSTEW is also playing a pro-active role as a member in a high-level Committee headed by the Prime Minister of India in the national mission of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (EFA).
We along with our state affiliates are always protesting against policy-decisions which are not favourable to education and against the interests of the teachers and fought for what was unjust and not in favour of teachers. But let me share with you with sense of dismay that in spite of positive and creative efforts, already gasping for fresh air primary education has not yet recognized by Centre and State Governments which it deserve. As a result, India which used to be in a leading position, is still struggling to achieve the goal of 100% literacy and universalization of elementary education.
Due to illiteracy and poverty, children who should be in schools are working as child labourers in many industries such as glass factories, carpet making, brick-kilns, zari industry, eateries, hotels etc. This also includes the dropout children. More than 30% of India’s population is living below the poverty line. We personally feel that if their parents were educated we are cent percent sure that these children would have been in the schools.
Therefore, the priority for India is to eradicate poverty and illiteracy. Governments alone cannot achieve these goals. To face these challenges, We invite all of you to think on the issues raised by me earlier and take a decision jointly to contribute for the development and progress of the nation. This will be possible only when all of us unitedly focus our attention on girls’ education, eradication of child labour, and HIV/AIDS and welfare of the under-privileged, marginalised and vulnerable sections of the society. This Conference is the right platform to launch a public movement for universalizing the Elementary Education involving politicians, educationists, community members and media as partners. Therefore, during the 27th Biennial Conference we will focus on the theme of:
The sub themes of the conference are:
• Teachers at the Heart of Education
• Standing up for the Right to Quality Public Education for All
• The way Forward for Mobilizing for Quality Education for All
We hope that all the delegates present here will have deliberations on these issues and through recommendations will affirm their commitment that all of us will work for mobilising for quality public education for all so that our country can also come in the category of developed nation.
On this auspicious occasion, it is my moral duty to draw your attention in this educational conference to some of the challenges being faced by the teaching community and We are sure that this conference will come out with an apt decision which is best suited to all stakeholders.
Professional Code of Ethics
The All India Primary Teachers’ Federation feels there should be a professional code of ethics for teachers. All over the country all the state governments has been enacting laws which are against the teachers, in light of this view, The All India Primary Teachers’ Federation has developed Professional Code of Ethics for teachers. It is perceived that an adherence to this code of ethics would stimulate teachers to be better performer in their work situation.
Regularization of Services of Para- teachers
To maintain quality in education, it is of prime importance that the teachers, who are qualified and professionally trained, should be recruited, instead of para/contract teachers since many of them lack professional qualification. We also appeal to the state governments to regularize the services of para-teachers after providing them necessary professional training otherwise the consequences of recruiting teachers on a contractual basis will be damaging to the society and the country.
New Pension Scheme
In the year 2004, Government of India launched the new pension scheme. Under this scheme, 10% of teachers’ salaries will be deducted and will be given to the private companies and later these companies will be responsible for the pensionary benefits to teachers. KSTEW opposes this decision, since at this juncture when fate of the companies depends on the economic conditions prevailing in the world, how will they be able to pay the pension? Therefore, we appeal the centre and state governments to review the new pension scheme and reinstate the old pension scheme.
Implementation of Children’s Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009
Although Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act was enacted in the year 2009, but it is not yet fully implemented. From this platform, the delegates of this Conference demand from the Government of India and state governments to implement this important act with immediate effect. As we all know that only 10% schools are properly implementing the Right to Education Act, 2009.
Privatization of School Education through Public Private Partnership Scheme
The schemes like Public Private Partnership and Voucher system in School Education are promoting capitalist mindset and promoting investments in the field of education. As a result, dual system of education is being promoted and this has widened the gap between rich and poor. This has a negative impact on the societal structure and it is visible in the process of nation-building. It will the appropriate time to mention that education is the responsibility of the government and delegating this responsibility to private companies, panchayats etc. is not only highlights avoiding the duty but neglecting the Constitutional provisions also.
Today, it has become utmost important that primary education at national level should have uniform curricula and system so there is no further division of society because of issues like rich poor, urban-rural etc.
Mid-Day Meal Scheme – Non Involvement of Teachers
We congratulate the Government of India for launching the midday meal scheme in whole of the country. The scheme has been successful in increasing students’ enrolment in schools. But teacher’ involvement in this scheme is seriously impacting their time in school. As a result, their teaching work is suffering. This is affecting adversely their students’ learning outcome. We demand from the Government of India that teachers should not be involved in mid-day Scheme.
Seventh Central Pay Commission
As we all know that so far the recommendations of the Sixth Central Pay Commission have not yet being implemented in all the states. We the delegates of this conference appeal to the Government of India as well as to the state governments to remove the anomalies of the Sixth Pay Commission regarding the grade pay of Rs.13,500 to Rs.16,290 and then finalise the recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission. We the delegates also demand that uniform pay structure should be implemented throughout the country.
Voting Right to Primary Teachers in state Legislative Councils
In states where legislative councils in state assemblies exist, all the teachers except primary teachers have a right to vote for teachers’ constituencies. There are more than 45 lac primary teachers. These primary schools teachers are being deprived of their legitimate right to vote which is unjust. We appeal to the Central Government to amend the constitution to grant voting right to primary teachers in teachers constituencies of legislative councils.
Fifty Percent Railway Concession to Teachers’ Participating in Educational Conferences
The educational conferences of the All India Primary Teachers’ Federation are of immense value to teachers in understanding issues affecting adversely quality of education. The Ministry of Railways, Government of India has been granting 50 %concession in rail fare to teachers who participate in educational conferences. During Janta Regime it was reduced to 25% concession. We appeal to the Ministry of Railways to restore 50% concession to teachers. Salaries of teachers have increased as a result of implementation of recommendations of 5th and 6th Pay Commissions. We also appeal to the Ministry of Railways to increase their eligibility limit for this concession.
Expenditure on Education
In continuation of welcoming all of you to this historic occasion of 27th Biennial conference of KSTEW, We would like to thank the BJP government at the centre who has promised in their election manifesto to allocate 6% of GDP on education as per our demand to improve the quality of education. But it is unfortunate that till date only 3% or less is being spent on the education. Therefore we the delegates of this conference demand to allocate at least 6% of the GDP to achieve the universal quality public education for all.
Besides discussing teachers’ salaries and working conditions, we also exchange our views on contemporary national and international issues to bring them into main stream ideology. Lastly, We would like to mention that during the conference, my fellow teachers will focus their discussions and prepare recommendations which are based on the above mentioned themes.