The Meghalaya cabinet has approved the proposal to enhance the grant-in-aid to the privately-run ad hoc schools by Rs 100 crore with effect from July 1, even as the agitating teachers have expressed disappointment.
After chairing the crucial meeting on July 4, chief minister Conrad Sangma said that based on the different memorandums that have come, the education department has put up a proposal which the cabinet has discussed in detail and decided to enhance the grant-in-aid to the privately run ad hoc schools.
“In view of this, the cabinet has decided to enhance the salary of the higher secondary, secondary and the science teachers by Rs 9,000 while the salary of the lower primary, upper primary, Hindi teachers and the 4th teachers of the SSA by Rs 6,000,” Sangma announced.
This would mean that the higher secondary teacher who used to get Rs 24,000 will now get Rs 33,000, secondary teachers from Rs 20,000 to Rs 29,000 and science teachers from Rs 22,000 to Rs 31,000.
Similarly, the upper primary teachers who used to get Rs 16,000 will now get Rs 22,000, lower primary teachers, Hindi teachers and 4th teachers of the SSA from Rs 12,000 to Rs 18,000, he added.
The decision was taken after a gap of four years since the last enhancement made was in June, 2017.
The agitating teachers under the banner of the Federation of All School Teachers of Meghalaya (FASTOM), who are staging an indefinite protest for the past six days, have been demanding salary enhancement of Rs 18,000 and 5% yearly increment.
The chief minister said the total impact of the enhancement will roughly come to Rs 100 crore annually.
“Therefore, the government will have to spend annually about Rs 310 crore from Rs 212 crore for implementation of the enhancement. The decision will be effective from July 1,” he added.
Further, the state government has refused to discuss the demand for a 5% yearly increment.
The Meghalaya chief minister said that this is because of the fact that these are privately run ad hoc schools and not government schools.
“We have not decided on giving 5% increment…as the entire onus is actually on the school managing committees (SMCs). They may be charging fees but the fees never come to the government and it stays with the SMCs,” he said.
He further maintained: “This is an overall grant that the government gives as we will feel that education is important and therefore, we give that grant. Therefore, the provision to have a 5% increment is something that we did not take a decision on and it will be difficult keeping the financial challenges and constraints in mind.”
The chief minister also informed that the Meghalaya government’s decision to enhance the grant-in-aid by Rs 100 crore will affect the budgetary allocation as it will have to cut from other departments’ budgets to make up for this.
“A lot of development aspects will be affected. We will not be able to take up the kind of projects that we had earlier intended to. We have a lot of projects to be taken up in C&RD or in police department, in the education department itself – I have sanctioned about Rs 100 crore more than I had put funds for new buildings and I had kept another plus Rs 150 crore to improve all the government lower primary schools by giving them 2-3 lakh each,” he said.
He said the government is yet to go down to the details of the matter while adding: “These exercises are going on and as we move along and as we see the performance of the different departments, we will decide on how we will have to adjust the budget.”
Ad hoc teachers express disappointment
Meanwhile, the agitating ad hoc teachers have refused to call off their indefinite protest as they termed the Meghalaya government’s decision as a “blatant insult and disrespect” to the teaching community.
FASTOM spokesperson Mayborn Lyngdoh informed that they will take a decision on their next course of action by July 5.
Expressing disappointment, Lyngdoh said: “When we take a look at the higher secondary, secondary and science teachers we are being given 50% of what we demanded whereas if you take a look at the upper primary and lower primary we are being given 25% of what we demanded that is a blatant insult, that is a blatant disrespect and that is something that the MDA government in Meghalaya should not have done because it should have taken us into account.”