Pune: The non-teaching staff from secondary schools across the State will go on an indefinite hunger strike from September 18, to demand recruitment of non-teaching staff in schools, which is on hold since 2005. The protest is organised by the Maharashtra State Secondary Schools Non-Teaching Staff Organisations Corporation.
Non-teaching staff members from schools in the State will begin the hunger strike at the Directorate of Education, Central Building, Pune, on September 18. Employees from Mumbai, Kolhapur, Nashik, Marathwada, Vidarbha, etc will join the protest in the days to follow.
Speaking to the media, Shivaji Khandekar, Joint Secretary of the Corporation said, “The government has not been recruiting new non-teaching staff at secondary schools since 2005. Due to this, the existing employees at the schools are facing a great deal of work pressure due to crunch in manpower. When Education Minister Vinod Tawde was in opposition, he supported our protest, however, after he assumed power, he hasn’t done anything for the betterment of non-teaching staff in the State.”
According to the Corporation, there are 92,000 people working as non-teaching employees at government secondary schools, and around 50 per cent of the schools do not have
“Peons, clerks, sweepers are essential parts of a school. The school wouldn’t work efficiently in absence of these people. However, the government does not realise this. There are many schools where the teachers are made to do all the clerical work, as there is no clerk appointed. How do they expect teachers to do their job efficiently when they are burdened with other work, and how do they guarantee the quality of education to the children?” asked Khandekar.
“Around 5,000 employees from Pune district will be present for the protest. Around 25 to 30 people, including main officials of the Corporation and a few employees who have volunteered, will go on hunger strike on the day,” Prasanna Kotulkar of Pune District Treasury said.
The Corporation also accused the government of trying to shut down government schools to make way for more private schools. “Why else would they neglect their own schools so much? They want these schools to be shut so that the schools that can give them good money can be opened in larger numbers. They aren’t just exploiting us, but also the students and the parents,” Khandekar added.
Several teachers’ organisations and principals’ organisations have supported the protest.