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SSA Teachers’ Strike

Jammu and Kashmir enjoys legal immunity vis-a-vis other states with centre. It is run through separate Constitution. It enjoys widespread powers within its territory. All residuary matters are dealt by state legislature. Any of the central government initiative or scheme for social development is to be adopted after prior consent of state government. One of such initiative in light of article 21A of Constitution is the Sarv Shiksa Abiyan (SSA). Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (Education for All Movement), or SSA, is an Indian Government programme aimed at the universalisation of elementary education “in a time bound manner”, as mandated by the 86th Amendment to the Constitution of India making free and compulsory education to children between the ages of 6 to 14 (estimated to be 205 million children in 2001) a fundamental right. The programme was pioneered by former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Its main objective is to make primary education a wholly inclusive in nip and tuck essence with right to education. By far the success story of has been satisfactory. Its funding is shared with miniscule shareable pie from states. This means to say that until and unless centre and state cooperates in harmonic manner, the time bound funding for any of the feature under scheme comes to halt. This notion came to fore in state when the teacher appointed under scheme initiated widespread protests for pending salaries. They are on strike from last several days to raise their voice for salaries.

Whenever the mismatch of administration occurs between centre and state agencies the results comes against the essence of scheme. The teachers meant for promoting the cause of universalistion of education are forced to shed away from daily duties. As is said “Teachers are nation builders “. They need to be give due regard fit their salaries and other allowances. Whenever the success story of western countries is traced in educational trajectory they seem to have respected their teachers at the highest point of mark. They place teachers on the highest pedestal even above the rank of Civil servants. The IAS mania of India is nip and tuck Xerox of teacher mania in western countries. They held them in high esteem. They have cleverly cracked the puzzle of nation builder. But the debunking of central schemes started with much aura lasts steam very quickly. There are several reasons for this failing state of affairs. In the first instance lack of coordination between central and state sponsored agencies. The lackadaisical approach of decision making in government administration is at the forefront of criticism. The leakages and other bleak incidents are but repercussions of this strategy. 2ndly the lack of intra department coordination at both state as well as central level. The finance department approval and the subsequent route of secretariat and GAD is evolving nothing but exhaustive exercise pulling down the performance of scheme in long run.

Thirdly the scheme dependency on budgetary allocation also impacts the initiative. Whenever the government changes at state or central level the previous schemes either halted or put in back burner. If whenever they are supposed to carry forward those schemes but energy loss of back support creates friction. Although SSA scheme is emerging lucky in this respect but the decision making style of political executive do impact the rate of functioning. Nayeem Akhter strategy is certainly different from present ministry. And the last but least the hectic administrative hierarchy adding weight to fast track decisions. The routing of funds from finance to secretary department and then onwards to Directorate needs high degree of inter department coordination. All these disorders need to be fixed for success of the scheme. As is said “The policy or scheme is as good or as bad as implementation”. The implementation of SSA scheme is in shambles which siphons away the success it achieve at ground level in respect of primary education. New schools were opened and new job avenues for highly qualified teachers came through this ambitious social sector scheme. The better it performs the better it sounds for the lives of youth as well a teachers.

The announcement of releasing salary before EID is a welcome step in right direction. But the continuation of strike speaks volumes due to non-serious attitude of officials. The teachers are busy in establishing foundation stone of state. They are busy in creating a layer necessary for intellectual development of state. The all-round literacy of state is possible due to the contribution of teachers. They need administrative support for shaping their lives and fulfilling their basic necessities. They are drawing a meagre salary for their contribution towards society. The above cons need to be avoided on implementation stage. The inter department coordination and centre state coordination need to be enhanced. The demands are genuine which deserve attention of state authorities for early resolution. These nuances should be avoided in future. Let’s hope to see the demand fulfilment on eve of Eid….

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