PULWAMA: Teachers employed by the central government assisted Saakshar [literate] Bharat Mission teachers in Kashmir have been awaiting regularisation of their jobs for the last eight years with no intervention from the education department.

According to official sources there are about 6,000 highly qualified Saakshar Bharat Mission teachers in the Kashmir valley. The aggrieved teachers say that despite endless assurances no policy has been made to regularise their appointments.

SBM teacher Aijaz Ahmad told The Citizen that “all the teachers are up in arms against the government for years, and have been demanding the job policy” with no response.

He said that because of the delay in regularisation, most teachers have now crossed the age limit, and have “no other options other than getting regularised in the education department.”

“However, no concrete step is being taken to get us regularised under any job policy. Many of us have crossed the age limit for a government job and are seeking regularisation within the education department as soon as possible,” Ahmad explained.

As in other parts of the country, in SBM teachers in Kashmir were appointed in 2012 at the panchayat level, on a salary of only Rs.2000 per month.

In every panchayat halqa of Kashmir, one male and one female teacher were appointed in the local government schools, “purely on the basis of merit”.

The Saakshar Bharat Mission is a nationwide scheme mostly focused on increasing women's literacy. According to the Directorate of School Education and Literacy it “aims to promote and strengthen adult learning, reaching out to those who missed the opportunity to access or complete formal education.”

The dismayed teachers say they always worked side by side with the main teachers in the schools to teach students, and were expecting a job policy since the day they were appointed on contract.

Sources say that most teachers have a postgraduate and B.Ed or higher degree from reputed colleges and universities.

Sabiya Jan, a graduate of Kashmir University who teaches for the SBM, said she has been working hard with other teachers for years and has been following all the duty orders from the concerned department.

Nevertheless, said Jan, while they were given a separate office room “they were never taken into consideration for job policy”.

Another teacher, Riyaz Ahmad, said they went from pillar to post to seek their rights from the education department but “nothing was done” in their favour.

“We visited all the offices like Zonal Education Office, Chief Education Office, Commissioner Secretary's office, to seek job policy for us. Assurances were given from time to time but nothing was done on the ground,” said Ahmad.

A group of SBM teachers further explained that their salary is very low, despite which they are facing “back to back delays” in getting it.

The teachers have demanded that Lt Governor Manoj Sinha personally look into the matter to save the future of all 6,000 Saakshar Bharat Mission teachers of Kashmir.