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Battle Between Two Failures

No one seems to know the exact demand of the Council of Teachers’ Association and no one also knows the exact reason why the Government continues to stick to its stand, forcing the teachers to launch a series of agitation. Only one point, that too dotted with Government usage of words and phrases, can be understood which is “demanding the implementation of the 6th Pay Commission in toto and the Government refusing to meet this demand on the ground that it is not in a position to bear the financial burden.”

Both sides seem to have their own merits and demerits, but what should not be forgotten is the fact that there is one common thread running through them which in short is, the people or the general public are fed up of the charade that is being enacted as well as the manner under which education has been reduced to something of a farce. On one side we have a bunch of professionals, who are supposed to be imparting knowledge to the young children and make them responsible citizens of the land, but who have failed in almost every aspect of their duty. In fact a job as a teacher in a Government institution or a Government teacher, is widely seen as having one’s cake and eating it too.

We are not here on a teacher bashing exercise, but every year we have to wring our hands in despair and bang our heads on the table, whenever the results of the annual Class X and Class XII are announced. In fact, there are even some Government schools, which have failed to produce even a single student who could get through the Class X Board examination. The natural question that follows is, if the teachers are not doing their jobs properly or only half heartedly, then they have absolutely no business to demand their salaries, forget about the 6th Pay recommendations. This is one side of the story and on the other side stands a Government to whom governance is an alien concept.

Take a look around and everything points to a system which has failed with no one caring a hoot and the biggest tragedy is most of the common people or the denizens of the land seem to miss the bull’s eye or fail to see the real meaning, whenever some proactive course of action is taken up. An example is the current drive launched by the Electricity Department following the filing of a PIL in the Court. Everybody, including the media seems to have taken the latest development as some sort of a tax drive or notching up figures of defaulters. Far from it, what we should remember is the fact that such a drive was necessitated because of the utter failure to govern on the part of the Government. We are talking about electricity here, but take a look at where bus parking lots are located within Imphal and one will clearly see the image of a Government bereft of any imagination or innovative ideas.

How about water supply, which is if one is lucky enough to get connected to any of the large pipes laid by the PHED? Can any mother in Imphal say that they can give the water without boiling it first to their children? This says something profound and the list can go on and on. Why should people be forced to worry about travelling through NH-53 and why is it in such a shabby condition? The only viable explanation for this state could be that the ruling elite have mistaken a National Highway to be a National Slushway or an inter-village road.

It is this tug of war between two gravy trains, two non-performers, which have impacted greatly on the school children that today they are being forced to come out on the street to demand that they be given the right to education. It is a cruel joke that school children are being forced to come out on the streets to demand that they be given the right to education in this knowledge driven era, where everything begins and ends with education. What adds that little bit more of bitterness, making it more unpalatable to any conscientious citizen is the fact that the children could have been coaxed or influenced to come out on the streets as part of the process of exerting pressure on the Government.

Come to think about it, can we sincerely accept that students studying in Class IX and X and XI and XII are well versed with such things as recommendations of the 6th Pay Commission or the financial problems the State Government may endure if they give in to the demands of the teachers who have come together under COTA ? It is a tragic reflection of the state of situation here that the battle between two non-performing entities should seriously affect the student community as a whole. Such a state can only come to such a pass when every institution, department, employee, and the people’s representatives themselves begin to take things for granted, which is what has been happening here all these years.

It is not without reason, why the SPF Government is unable to take tough decisions when it matters, for its weaknesses are too blatant for all to see and hear. It is only the extremely naive and politically unwary who will expect a failure of a Government to come out with some tough decisions, which the SPF Government undoubtedly is. It is this loophole that employees are on the lookout for to exploit and pursue their own vested interest and most unfortunately it is the students who have come to be at the receiving end. Our stand is simple. Do your job. Demand your due rights. Be fair to all employees and last of all, all Government employees, most importantly the teaching community need to live upto the truest sense of teachers as understood and expected.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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