Chennai: Perturbed over government teachers taking part in the protest along with other state government employees, demanding implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission recommendations, the Madras high court observed that such strikes by government teachers were also a primary reason for government school students securing low marks in Neet. Justice N. Kirubakaran directed authorities to file a report on the steps taken to prevent the protest.
A writ petition alleged that Kalidas, headmaster working in the Panchayat Union Middle School, Siruveliyanallur, Cheyyar, was absent continuously for more than three months.
He was often drunk in school, which compelled villagers to lock the school. He was placed under suspension from March 24, 2017, and a charge-sheet issued in August. The petitioner also alleged that other government schools were also facing a similar situation as the teachers did not attend school and did not teach properly.
The judge said, “This is only the tip of the iceberg. Though, many government school teachers are working in this fashion, this court would like to observe that equally committed, devoted, hardworking and sincere teachers are also working in government schools and their contribution needs to be appreciated.” The judge was concerned that some teachers were boycotting work from this month and required the following information from the authorities concerned.
The judge sought answers from authourities to 11 questions: How many teachers’ unions/associations are striking without attending classes? How many teachers are abstaining from work? How many teachers work in government schools in the state? What is the population ratio of teachers in Tamil Nadu? What are the salary details of teachers from the lowest to the highest level? How much is spent from the public exchequer to pay salaries to teachers and what percentage does this constitute of the total annual budget of government? What is the percentage of people living below the poverty line and what is their average monthly/annual income? Are government teachers paid less than private school teachers or vice versa? How many schools are affected due to the strike? What steps were taken by government to prevent teachers from boycotting work? The matter was posted for further hearing to Thursday.