The teachers took mass leave and protested outside the block education officers' offices after the government did little to address their requests


14 Sep, 2023 01:35 PM

1.30 Lakh Teachers in Odisha on Mass Strike for Old Pension, Pay hike

1.30 Lakh Teachers in Odisha on Mass Strike for Old Pension, Pay hike

On Wednesday, a massive strike unfolded in Odisha, with an estimated 1.30 lakh teachers representing more than 56,000 primary and upper primary schools participating. Their protest centered around three key issues: the state's contractual appointment system, demands for grade pay hikes from Rs 2,200 to Rs 4,200, and the reinstatement of the old pension system. This strike, organized by the All Utkal Primary Teachers’ Federation (AUPTF), has paralyzed the education system, affecting over 40 lakh students in state-run schools who have been unable to attend classes for six consecutive days.

The impact of the strike on schools and students has been substantial. While most schools remained closed, a few managed to hold classes with just one or two teachers present.

Despite the Odisha government's plea for the teachers to end their strike, they remained steadfast in their protest, which commenced on September 8 and escalated to a mass leave beginning on September 14. Frustrated by the government's lack of response to their demands, the aggrieved teachers resorted to protesting outside the block education officers' offices.

A prominent teacher leader expressed their concerns, highlighting that instead of addressing the issues raised, the government had formed a subcommittee, despite the existence of an inter-ministerial panel. It was alleged that the subcommittee was established to delay the resolution process. The teachers found support for their demands from leaders of the BJP and Congress, who also criticized the state administration for its inaction.

Despite six days of protests, the government has yet to address the teachers' grievances, leading to a severe disruption in the Odisha education system. Anil Biswal, a spokesperson for the state BJP, lamented the government's lethargy, stating that the entire education system in Odisha was crumbling as a result. In contrast, BJD MLA Arabinda Dhali assured that the state administration would unquestionably consider the teachers' sincere requests, suggesting a potential resolution to the ongoing crisis.

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