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Grievances Of Part-Time Lecturers In Hill Districts Of Manipur

Most of the higher secondary school under the Manipur State Government, especially located in the hill areas were mend by the part-time lecturers. The conditions of these lecturers were very pathetic, they have been discharging their duties with a work load equal to that of a regular lecturer for the past 13 (thirteen) years. They were indeed the most ill-treated so far as their wages is concerned, the lowest paid compared to their qualification and nature of works, for that matter the most mentally harassed section among people utilized by the Government of Manipur. These are not a stop gap arrangement of the Government but a system in practiced for the past 13 years. They were paid only a sum of Rs. 4500 per month as remuneration. Even to get that meager amount they have to face a lot of hardship. Craftily official of the department made an arrangement to pay their remuneration at Imphal so that all kinds of money monger could have their illegal deduction before it could pass to the gullible lecturers.

The deduction begin from the Director Education (S), it is a wonder that under what section of service rule(s) did this department deducted a sum of Rs 75 every month from every individual as professional tax, it is more wonderful that the so called naive part-time lecturers parted with the money without rising even a single question. I was told by one of them who dislike disclosing his identity that over and above the open deduction from the directorate office, a series of deduction were made by their colleagues who work as leaders of their Association every time they got their remuneration to bribe the politician and official to extend their period of service/release their 7-8 months accumulated under paid wages. Deduction on one teacher at a time ranges from Rs 500 to 5000. These have become the accepted norms or a must to make the system run. No one dare to speak it out.

I quip why they can’t demand their rightful share? Then he relates his recollection, ‘Way back in the summer of 2004, we the innocent lecturer launch a democratic protest cease work strike. The Government resorted to arrest more than 100 of us. However we refused to budge on to the pressure as our toleration limit was crossed. It is strange to imagine, in that juncture, one valley based underground organization summoned our leaders to Chandel and threatened to take action if we do not immediately quit the peaceful protest. Consequently, we were brought to the negotiating table with the Government only to settle with an increment of Rs 500 per month and with a written promise to address the grievances at the earliest. Later, those UGs who summoned the lecturers to Chandel were found moving freely at residence of the CM.’

I would like to remind the students community who are immensely benefited from the dedicated service of this lecturer that injustice have been done to them, your gratitude and acknowledgement will only be their incentive. Though they suffered in the hands of the heartless insensitive authority who think only to fill up their pockets, your concern and love for them will bring peace and satisfaction to their soul.

On the flip side, there are 100s of part-time lecturers who draw their remuneration rendering only nominal service but benefited at the cause of other half who truly suffered. The Government needs to have the will and determination to segregate the sheep and goat and prevent unnecessary wastage of public money.

This is Manipur Government, a politician rising on a podium, with a loud mouth promised quality education and a bureaucrat parroting the same lines with shameless hearts with no real concern for the laborer whom they utilize. It must have been true as expressed by this part-time lecturer that the day they received their remuneration was a day of frustration, filled with shame, remorse and a heavy hearts. Whose fault is it anyway? They are the one who accept the term and condition but more responsible for this imbroglio should go to the policy maker who have craftily designed to capture and exploit the gullible.

Let us say, the part-time lecturers are sub-standard/unqualified, then, the decisions of the Government have spoiled more than 13 academic years of our children. In other words, lives of thousands of students for more than 13 years from 1996-2010 were entrusted to an unreliable teachers.

Though it is late, their services should be terminated en masse at once if the Government feels that they have taken a wrong decision. Process must be initiated immediately to recruit a talented and qualified batch of lecturer.

If circumstances compelled the government to continue with the practice, forget about service security or regularization, the government needs to work-out a workable amount of remuneration to enable them to cater to the needs of their children and wife at least during the period of utilizing their services. If financial remuneration is taken as the dipstick to measure the worth of service render, the worth of part-time lecturer who are taking a pivotal role in shaping the life of our children are less than that of a sweeper employed in the government office.

Though parents of students in the over-staff schools of Imphal valley may take the matter lightly, parents of students in the hill districts are shock to learn about the suffering and working conditions of those diligent lecturers of our children. I would like to appeal to all the concern to bring about changes in the right direction.

May not the diligent part-time lecturers be discouraged by the conduct of the reckless policy makers and bureaucrats who exploit mankind by making petty excuses. If you are not an atheist, remember, blessing is not a thing that can be given by man but it is Devine providence.

*The commentary is written by Jacob Panmei.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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