Govt-Teachers Ink Agreement, Stir Called Off

Teachers under the aegis of COTA while on their agitation (File Photo). Image Credit: Sangai Photo.

IMPHAL, Mar 3: With the State Government and teachers agitating under the Council of Teachers’ Association (COTA) and the Federation of College Teachers’ Association Manipur finally striking an agreement at the level of the Chief Minister, the teachers have called off their agitation.

On the other hand, COTA advisor Th Ibopishak has attributed the growing popularity of private schools over Government schools to the medium of teaching which is English as opposed to Manipuri adopted as the medium of teaching in Government schools.

The Chief Minister held separate meetings with representatives of COTA and FECTAM from 11 am today and later signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the two teachers’ bodies.

The meetings were also attended by Revenue Minister Th Debendra, Sports Minister N Biren, Chief Secretary DS Poonia and officials of Finance Department.

Following the understanding COTA and FECTAM have called off their agitation with immediate effect.

It was also agreed that the 239 teachers currently lodged in prison would be freed.

Speaking to media persons after the meeting, COTA advisor claimed that almost 80 per cent of their demand has been acceded to by the Government. The Government would issue an official order in this regard in the first week of April this year.

During the meeting, Government officials tabled the pay structures of the Governments of Mizoram, Sikkim and Meghalaya for a comparative study.

The State Government reportedly assured the COTA representatives that their demand would be addressed after studying the pay structures approved by the Governments of Mizo-ram, Sikkim and Meghalaya.

The Government further assured the teachers that their status would be maintained and that they would be given Pay Band II.

Notably, teachers under COTA were undertaking an indefinite hunger strike in batches since January 19 this year.

On being enquired about Government school teachers sending their children to private schools, Ibopishak said that parents prefer private and mission schools to Government schools because the medium of teaching in private/mission schools is English, which is an international language.

Some people are sending their wards to private schools just to show that they can afford and they do not belong to the lowest strata of the society.

Maintaining that Government teachers neither are nor qualified, Ibopishak admitted that Government school teachers have little enthusiasm for teaching as there are very few students in Govt schools. COTA co-convener M Joykumar said that the working hours lost due to teachers’ strike would be made up by conducting extra classes and examinations which have been put off would be conducted afresh.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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