Self-Reliance or Laying Foundation to Privatize Indian School Education

In a recent address to the nation during lock down our Prime Minister made an appeal for becoming “self-Reliant” that is able to produce and deliver local goods and services to its citizens. This applies equally to education for all children. Delivering a service, like education, requires a capable state, especially given the scale and complexity of its large and diverse population. Building state capability involves a process of learning to do things on one’s own.

State capability is about getting things done in the government, and by the government, by ensuring effective implementation that is responsive to local needs, but also about being able to design and conduct reforms.

However, the World Bank’s STARS project, a $3 billion project to improve education in six Indian States namely Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, and Rajasthan has the mistaken understanding that state capability should be built by giving a larger role to non-state actors and by increasing the use of technology.

Both these premises are misguided as they do not contribute to the capability of the state to deliver better education. The reason is that there are some preconditions for effective governance within the public sector that must be met before either technology or non-state actors can be useful.

The administration must be equipped with adequate physical, financial and human resources. An overburdened bureaucracy with vacancies and without basic equipment cannot be expected to be effective. Unfortunately, in the education sector we are short of that level in all areas.

Why is the STARS approach to build state capacity flawed is explained by Sh. Ram Pal Singh, President, All India Primary Teachers’ Federation. He said that first of all, it fails to address the basic capacity issues: major vacancies across the education system from District Institutes of Education and Training (DIETs), district and block education offices, to teachers in schools, remain unaddressed. Without capable and motivated faculty, teacher education and training cannot be expected to improve.

Sh. Ram Singh has communicated teachers’ and Civil society perspective, just before World Bank cleared the program, to the Chief Ministers of all the six states and World Bank Officials to have consultations and dialogues with involvement of different actors before moving ahead with the STARS program, but the reply from the World Bank received by the Federation is very discouraging.

He also stressed that outsourcing basic governance functions by “expanding private initiatives” and “reducing government tasks” will not make education “more relevant to local needs” or “democratically promote people’s participation by empowering local authorities” as stated in the project document.

If we want DIETs, block and community resource centres, and schools to be atma nirbhar (self-relaint), we need to enable them to develop their own capability to reform themselves. Outsourcing, an over-reliance on measurement by standardized assessments, and an excessive use of ICT will not get us closer to an Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India)

“In its current form, STARS is bound to fail to deliver its core objective: to reform the governance architecture in order to improve the quality of education and will make education a saleable commodity” said Sh. Singh.

On-going AGITATION

Due to neutral and callous attitude by the government, we are compelled to take the path of agitation once again since New Pension Scheme is creating a feeling of insecurity among the teachers and other state employees.

In our phase -3 of agitation for revival of old pension from block level and above in 25 state affiliates have started on 23 November 2019 and moving to national level.

In New Delhi a “Relay Strike” from 21st to 27th February 2020 in front of Parliament has been planned. During the Relay Strike, teachers from members’ affiliate will be protesting every day from 21 to 26th February 2020.

AIPTF has planned a mass rally on 27th February 2020 in which approximately 10,000 or more teachers are expected to arrive at the capital city to raise the demands.

Our demands are:

  • Revival of Old Pension Scheme with immediate effect;
  • All the contractual teachers working under different nomenclature like ShikshaMitra/GanaShikshak/NiyojitShikshak etc. should be regularised before 31st March 2021 and uniformity should be maintained in their salaries;
  • Strengthen elementary education and ensure participation of Teachers’ organisations while finalising the National Education Policy 2019 to remove anti-teachers’ provisions;
  • Remove the anomalies of Sixth Central Pay Commission and implement the recommendations of Seventh Central Pay Commission with effect from 1 January 2016 for the primary teachers throughout the country uniformly
  • Teachers’ Eligibility Test throughout India should be conducted before the professional training

We appeal to like-minded organizations and colleagues to extend their support to our demands.

Homage to Sh. M. P. Shahi

The AIPTF noted with deep sorrow and pain the sad demise of Sh. Mahendra Prasad Shahi, Joint Secretary General-All India Primary Teachers’ Federation and General Secretary, Bihar Rajya Prathmik Shikshak Sangh on 2nd November 2019.

The AIPTF Office Bearers and staff members paid homage to him. They expressed that a vacuum has been created with his departure and AIPTF is in a state of shock and remembered his contributions, work done in the field of education, securing a better status for teachers in the country.

At this juncture, we the members of AIPTF, pray to God that his soul rests in peace and give strength to his family members and colleagues to bear this irreparable loss.

 

(Ram Pal Singh)                        (Kamala Kanta Tripathy)
President, AIPTF                       Secretary General, AIPTF

Homage to Smt. Sulabha A. Donde

The AIPTF noted with deep sorrow and pain the sad demise of Smt. Sulabha A. Donde, Senior Vice-President and Chairperson, Women’s Committee, All India Primary Teachers’ Federation on 3rd June 2019.

Sh. Ram Pal Singh called an emergency meeting of staff members and paid homage to her. He expressed that a vacuum has been created with her departure and AIPTF is in a state of shock and remembered her contributions, work done in the field of women’s empowerment, securing a better place for women in the union.

At this juncture, we the members of AIPTF, pray to God that her soul rests in peace and give strength to her family members and friends to bear this irreparable loss.

28th Biennial Conference of AIPTF

The All India Primary Teachers’ Federation organised its 28th Biennial Educational Conference at Gaya, Bihar on 24-25 November 2018. The conference was inaugurated by Hon’ble Sh., Raj Nath Singh, Union Minister for Home Affairs, Government of India. His presence and address regarding role of teachers in nation-building and inculcating good values among students are the need of the hour was very motivating and encouraging for the teachers. The eminent educationists from India and Ms. Susan Hopgood, President, Education International and union leaders from NUTP, Malaysia especially Mr. Chari ThyeChoon, Deputy President, NUTP were also participated in the conference; it was attended by approximately 30,000 teachers from different parts of the country.

The programme began with customary flag hoisting of Education International, AIPTF and Bihar Rajya PrathmikShikshak Sangh along with national flag. As the flags unfurled, a feeling of commitment and dedication towards union was visible on the faces of thousands of teachers gathered. The main theme of the Conference was:

“The Right to Education means the Right to a Qualified Teacher”

and sub-themes were:

Can we achieve quality education without qualified teachers?
The teachers’ unions response to Privatization and Commercialization of
Education: how it affects us and our children; and

Transforming India through quality education: Role of Teachers’ unions in
advancing right to (free, quality, equitable and inclusive) education for all

Women constitute a substantial part in membership of AU India Primary Teachers’ Federation but their representation in decision-making bodies and leadership positions still poses many challenges before the Federation. The AIPTF is making all possible efforts and measures to enhance women’s participation in union activities and one of them is organising a Women Caucus prior to its Biennial Conference.

The Caucus was inaugurated by Ms. Susan Hopgood, President, education International. In her inaugural address, Ms. Hopgood reflected the status of women globally in the union and in society. She focused her inaugural address on bringing gender equality and women’s empowerment through teachers’ unions. She also stated that gender inequality in any area is major barrier in development and progress of any country.

She urged the Indian counterparts to pay attention to eliminate violence against women, including domestic violence and other forms of discrimination in the society. However, on the other hand, there is an increase in enrollment of girls and there is less drop-out rate as compared to previous years.

The other speakers who addressed the Caucus were Ms. Shashi Bala Singh, Chief Coordinator addressed the delegates regarding the positive developments in the field of girls’ education but still a lot has to be done to attain equality.

The main conference began with a welcome song by school children in honour of Sh. Raj Nath Singh, Union Minister for Home Affairs, Government of India. The welcome address by Sh. Arun Kumar, Chairperson, Reception Committee and Member of Parliament set the pace for the conference.

The states are an integral part of AU India Primary Teachers’ Federation and they also conducted different activities. The activities conducted under Membership Education Programme are mentioned here.

8th EIAP Regional Conference, Kathmandu, Nepal

Teachers’ leaders from the Asia Pacific region gathered at Kathmandu, Nepal for the 8th EIAP Regional Conference from 10th to 12th October 2017 to share and reflect upon the challenges in the continent and discussed the solutions so that quality education for all can be ensured. The Conference also focused its discussions on Agenda 2030.

During the Conference, Regional Committee for Asia Pacific was reconstituted and Sh. Ram Pal Singh, President, AIPTF was elected as Vice-President of the Committee. The AIPTF is very proud on his election to this esteemed post reflects his commitments and hard work towards the welfare of teaching community. This achievement for the AIPTF will provide an opportunity to raise the concerns of teachers at global level.

Resource Persons Training Programme

AIPTF’s Professional Development Programme with the support of Education International (EI), Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) and Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation is a remarkable input to improve the teaching competence of the members of the AIPTF.

4 training programmes were conducted for capacity building of Master Resource Persons, Block Resource Persons and teachers working at the grass root level. These programmes were organized under PDP India supported by the CTF and STF. Every year a number of experts from CTF and STF are coming to India for providing training to teachers.

National Administrative Meeting for Membership Education

2-4 May 2017 at Shikshak Bhawan, New Delhi

AIPTF conducts regular meetings with state top leaders, representatives and experts from Lärarförbundet and Education International for improving the quality of the project on a continuing basis to review the project activities for the current year and to analyse the plans for the year 2017-18.

Agitation Plan for Revival Old Pension Scheme and other Demands

30th December 2016 at Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh

AIPTF called for a meeting of its Executive Committee and General Council at Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh on 30th December 2016. In this meeting, it was decided to protest against the following decisions of the Government throughout the country along with State Employees Association(s), postal union, railways’ employees union and other teachers and like-minded unions in different states.

The AIPTF has been fighting and raising the following demands since 2004 on many occasions and with different stakeholders from time to time but there is no response and government is very reluctant to consider them.

Our demands are very specific and clear:
• New Pension Scheme should be stopped for teachers and other state employees with immediate effect and revive the old pension scheme.
• Anomalies of the Six Central Pay Commission should be removed and necessary amendments should be made in the recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission’s recommendations.
• Implementing the recommendations of the Seventh Central Pay Commission in all the states of India with effect from 1st January 2016 for all the categories of the teachers including para teachers should be given “Equal Pay for Equal Work” as per the directives of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India.
• Setting up a “National Commission for Elementary Education” to deal with the problems and issues related to education and teachers.

To chalk out a clear blue print for the nation-wide agitation, an “Action Committee” was constituted with the following members:

1. Sh. Mahendra Prasad Shahi (Bihar), Dy. Secretary General, AIPTF
2. Smt. SulbhaDonde (Maharashtra) Sr. Vice-President, AIPTF
3. Dr. Ram Chandra Dabas (Delhi), Sr. Vice-President, AIPTF
4. Sh. N. Rengarajan (Tamil Nadu) Dy. Secretary General, AIPTF
5. Sh. Jibon Borah (Assam) Organising Secretary, AIPTF
6. Sh. Sanjay Mishra (Uttar Pradesh), Organising Secretary, AIPTF
7. Sh. VinodThakran (Haryana), President, RPSH, Haryana
8. Sh. JitendraShahi (Uttar Pradesh) President, Para Teachers’ Association

All the members of the Action Committee met on 30th January 2017 at Shikshak Bhavan, New Delhi at 11.00 AM to discuss and finalise the plan of Action from the block level to national level agitation.

Agitation Plan Poster (Hindi and English)

Old Pension Scheme-Poster (Hindi)

Old Pension Scheme-Poster-Eng