The Meghalaya government has assured to take steps for timely release of SSA teachers’ salary.
The assurance was made during a meeting chaired by Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong in the presence of Education minister Rakkam A Sangma with a delegation of the Meghalaya Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan Schools Association (MSSASA) on Wednesday.
Sangma told reporters that the meeting discussed at length certain issues flagged off by the association which include regular release of their salary and pending arrears.
“We have told them that we are on the job (to address these issues),” he said.
Sangma said that the pending salary is only for two months as the government had cleared the same up to the month of December last year.
“We are waiting for the ministry concerned to release the second installment within the next 15 days,” he added.
He said that the state government had done its job and now is waiting for the ministry to release the necessary funds.
Earlier after the meeting, MSSASA president Aristotle C Rymbai informed that the association has requested the state government to put more budget provision in the state budget for the SSA during the current financial year 2023-24 to address the issue of irregular payment of salary to the teachers.
He said the request was made because most of the time, the teachers are made to come out to the streets to demand for their salary. He also cited last year’s incident where teachers were compelled to sleep on the streets.
“Therefore, we feel it is the need of the hour for the government to put more budget provision for the SSA so that the same problem will not arise,” he added.
Rymbai informed that both the deputy chief minister and education minister had given positive assurance to the delegation.
“They told us that the government will work out and will put more budget provision in the state budget so that if the fund comes late from the central government, the state government will be in a position to at least pay the salary of SSA teachers for at least 3 months from the state budget,” he said.
On the issue related to filling up of vacant teacher posts in the SSA lower and upper primary schools in the state, Rymbai said, “We have discussed this issue and they have informed us that why the government till date have not approved the proposals sent by the respective school managing committees (SMCs) for advertisement of these vacant posts is because they are doing the rationalization of the teachers.”
“However, during this course of action, they met a problem. The problem is that there are some SMCs which are not willing to accept those teachers or take teachers from the schools and to appoint them to other schools where there is more students’ enrolment. The government now are in the process and are trying to solve this problem,” he added.
He further informed that the deputy CM and Education minister has also requested the association to wait for some time and cooperate with the government till the government solve this problem with the SMCs.
With regards to the transferring of teachers’ salary from the account of the district mission coordinator to the accounts of the respective teachers, MSSASA president said that the deputy chief minister has informed that on December 19, last year the state project director had issued a letter to all the respective district mission coordinator and instructed each and every SMC to furnish detailed information of teachers and their bank details. A reminder letter was also sent on January 16, this year.
“This whole process is going on. So very soon, the concerned department will complete this entire process in order to transfer the salary of SSA teachers from the account of the district mission coordinator directly to the account of the respective teachers,” he said.
The MSSASA has also urged the state government to speed up the appointment of the chairman and members of the Meghalaya State Education Commission. The state government had appointed a search committee headed by the chief secretary.
“Today, the deputy CM and the education minister informed us that the search committee had already sat once. So very soon they will sit for a second meeting and decide who will be the chairman and members of the education commission,” he said.
“In July, last year during our protest, the deputy chief minister had called us for talks and in that meeting we have unanimously taken a decision that these two issues – enhancement of salary and regularizing the SSA teachers – will be taken up in the Meghalaya State Education Commission. So the need of the hour is for the state government to appoint the chairman and members of the commission so that our issues will be addressed by the commission,” Rymbai further stated.