Government and government aided educational institutions across Karnataka have remained shut due to a call for indefinite protest given by the government workers association starting Wednesday.
Demanding a revision in their pay, government employees have threatened to go on an indefinite protest beginning on March 1. The decision was taken after talks with chief minister Basavaraj Bommai yielded no result. The protest has impacted several essential services across the state. Among them, even schools and colleges saw a closure as no teachers came to work.
This comes amid an ongoing preparatory exams for class 10 students (SSLC).
Taking part in the protest are also 1.5 lakh teachers and staff belonging to the government primary teachers association.
Shambungouda Patil, president, Karnataka State Primary School Teachers Association said that the Karnataka’s government school teachers are also government employees, hence they have joined hands with them in the protest. “It has been 9 months since the 7th pay commission was announced. NPS should be made into OPS. It is the government’s responsibility to ensure that it’s employees are taken care of well. If we don’t have pension at the end of our tenures, what will our livelihood look like later. Government, aided and guest lecturers or teachers will all take part in the protest,” be said.
Patil sought coorpation from parents are students while the protest is ongoing. “We always intend to do good for our students. But now, we need some time for our well-being. I urge all other stakeholders to cooperate,” he said.
The protest comes at a time when SSLC preparatory exams are underway in Karnataka. Also, the annual assessments which are scheduled to start this year will commence on March 13 and preparations are on for the same.
Meanwhile, Chandrashekar Nugli, general secretary of the association said that the decision was not a sudden one but a result of failed talks with the government. “We informed the government about the protest on February 22. Despite that, the government did not invite us for a cordial discussion on this. The government still has time before the commencement of board exams. We seek the chief minister call for another round of amicable discussion and arrive at a conclusion. As many as 44,000 government schools will not function till there is a resolution,” he added.
While teachers are on the protest, mid day meal programme tracking, SATS portal updation, examination duties, could be among the services that will be affected.
Condemning this, Lokesh T, president, Recognised Unaided Private Schools Association said, “The constitution gives everyone a right to protest. We are with the government employees in their struggle seeking a pay hike. However, in many schools across the state, principals have unofficially declared holidays, intimated parents not to send students to school as a mark of protest. This is the denial of a basic right to education for children. The education minister and officials must immediately intervene and have this stopped,” he said.