College teachers on strike !
Think about the students
Time to think about the fate of students-young students who have just passed Class XII and are ready to step into the challenging, exciting world of college life. But unfortunately for many students their dream of stepping into college life, to breathe in the air of campus life, the excitement of meeting new faces and making new friends etc must have met a damp squib. The global pandemic ensured that for all students, there was no campus life or college life in 2020 and back here in Manipur, there is nothing much to suggest that 2021 has started off on the right note for the many students who have just passed their Class XII examinations and got admission in many of the colleges across the State. Save for some private colleges, such as Don Bosco College, Maram, classes are yet to begin on the right note. On the one hand, the global pandemic has ensured that there will only be two or three classes in a week and on the other is the ongoing strike launched by the Federation of Government College Teachers Association demanding the 7th Pay. True the teachers on strike have not exactly gone to the extent of boycotting classes, but the reality is, with many teachers staging sit-in protests holding classes is the last thing on the mind of the aggrieved teachers. It is also only natural that students would not be in the right mental frame to go for classes in such an atmosphere when many teachers are on protest. Threatening to make matters worse is the decision of the All Manipur College Teachers’ Association to launch a cease work strike from February 22, if no positive response comes from the side of the Government. Tough to say how the appeal of the Chief Minister to the teachers to give the Government 3/4 months time to implement the 7th Pay will go down, but what is significant to note is that this is not the first time that such an assurance has been given, if one goes by what AMCTA has had to say.
Each side seem to have their own merit. The teachers on strike have stuck to the line that despite the State Cabinet adopting a decision that State Government employees would be entitled to the 7th Pay of 2018, nothing has been done to implement the same while the Government has taken the trouble to explain that the Covid pandemic had thrown everything out of gear. The line of the Chief Minister is understandable, but as AMCTA pointed out, teachers have been demanding the 7th Pay since July 13, 2019, which is much before the world became acquainted with the virus that causes COVID-19. According to the teachers, the Government had also assured thrice that the 7th Pay would be implemented and detailed them as in November 2019, February 2020 and in August 2020. If what the teachers have had to say is true then the assurance came before the outbreak of the global pandemic and one wonders what the Government was doing earlier. Forget the assurance in November 2019, even when the second assurance was given that is in February 2020, Manipur or India had yet to come under the grip of the virus. One only hopes that a meeting point is worked out soon, for this is the least that can be done for students who have just stepped into the exciting and challenging world of college life.