Save Our Teachers sign now

To,
The Concerned Authorities.

Respected Sir(s)/Madam(s),

WE THE UNDERSIGNED hereby Petition to Save Our Teachers (SOT).


THE PETITION:
From July 14 '09, around 30,000 University teachers across Maharashtra under the aegis of MFUCTO (Maharashtra Federation of University and College Teachers' Organisation) have gone on an INDEFINITE STRIKE to express their resentment, and protest against the State Government's failure to implement their several long pending demands.

ABOUT SOT:
Save Our Teachers is a peaceful show of solidarity with the striking teachers and their cause in as mature a manner as possible. This community has no intention of protesting/ having rallies, etc. It is an attempt to create awareness amongst the people, specifically the students, about the difficulties as well as the injustice our teachers are facing and an appeal to the State Govt. to find a fair solution to this problem at the earliest.

REASONS FOR THE STRIKE:
Amongst others, the primary reasons for the Strike are:
1. The State Government has not implemented the Sixth Pay Commission revised pay scales for teachers DESPITE financial assistance from the Centre & the University Grants Commission (UGC) - which had asked it to do so by March 31 '09 itself.
Other State Govt employees, however, have even begun receiving the benefits.
2. The problem of the National Eligibility Test (NET) and State Level Eligibility Test (SLET) qualification condition wrongly introduced on about 10,000 teachers i.e. those appointed between 1990 and 2000 has not been resolved yet. Back then, the NET/SLET rule had not been made compulsory and thus many teachers do not have the NET/SLET qualification. But such teachers have not been covered by the new scales.

STATUS AS ON AUGUST 7 09:
Since the Strike began, 24 days have passed but the negotiations between delegates of the MFUCTO and those of the Govt. of Maharashtra over the past couple of weeks have been more or less inconclusive.
It is extremely disheartening to see that the State Govt. has not signed & given the MFUCTO any mutual agreement in writing (as has been the practice in the past); in the absence of which there is no guarantee at all that the new pay scales will be implemented.

THE EFFECT OF THIS STRIKE:
The immediate effect of this strike is the delay in conducting the 1st terminal examinations of all the students affected by this Strike. These were to be conducted in late-September. Now, they may be pushed to late-October, i.e. after Diwali, making students forgo their Diwali vacation completely. Not only that, students may also need to forgo their weekends leading up to the exams and attend college in order to be able to cover up the entire syllabus.

On a greater scale, it is very convenient to preach ethics to neighbours. A society that thinks teachers must not go on strike is being hypocritical and utterly unconcerned towards higher education. If conditions of work go on worsening like this in the field, what is to happen to higher education in the future? Will we have the right to complain teachers are incompetent? Will competent people choose to teach?
The apathy towards teachers is seen as a gradual withdrawal of Government support to public-funded higher education. If this trend continues, very little talent will be drawn to the field of education. Gradually, the quality of teaching and higher education in general will deteriorate abysmally and lakhs of deserving students will suffer. Even as the UGC announces schemes to attract the intellectual wealth of the country and even NRIs to the field of academics, the Maharashtra Govt's inattention to the grievances of the teachers runs counter to this progressive move.

OTHER RELEVANT FACTS:
The last time University teachers went on an Indefinite Strike was in 96 against the 5th Pay Commission their demands were finally met only by 2001.
When Junior College teachers protested in '97, HSC papers were corrected by housewives and ordinary graduates, while officials from the Mantralaya supervised the SSC exams.


THE UNDERSIGNED RESPECTFULLY REQUEST the State Govt. to accept the all the justified demands of the striking teachers at the earliest. If the decision is taken in their best interests, this long-drawn matter will be resolved once and for all.

Thanking you,

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Margarita BrewerBy:
City LifeIn:
Petition target:
The Government of Maharashtra, Hon'ble Minister of Higher & Technical Education (Maharashtra), Hon'ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra, University Grants Commission (UGC)

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