Nearly a month-and-a-half after going on strike, the agitating schoolteachers in 2,209 block grant high schools across Odisha rejoined duty on Monday.
The teachers called off their 40-day strike on Sunday evening following a meeting with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. They also withdrew the padyatra (walkathon) programme scheduled for Monday in Hinjili, the home constituency of Patnaik, in Ganjam district.
Odisha's School and Mass Education Minister Debi Prasad Mishra said the teachers have joined classes from Monday and he hoped that they would take extra classes and complete the syllabus, as promised during their discussion with the chief minister.
The Naveen Patnaik government formulated the Block Grant Policy in 2004 to provide assistance to private schools. They get aid in percentage till they are eligible for receiving cent percent grant.
Teachers had suspended teaching from August 18 and launched a sit-in here, demanding grant-in-aid (fully salary) mode of payment instead of being paid salary in block grant procedure. The teachers also wanted a salary equal to what is given in government schools.
"As per the policy, the teachers were not getting any promotion and increment. They were also not getting any TA and DA," said Padmacharan Pradhan, vice-president of Block Grant High School Teachers' Association.
Though the upper primary and Middle English school teachers called off their agitation on September 24 following a notification of the Odisha government to bring 438 schools under the purview of the grant-in-aid (GIA) policy, the high school teachers of 2,209 schools continued their agitation as they did not get any assurance.
The state government is granting salary to teachers as per the grant-in-aid policy, 2013.
According to the grant-in-aid policy, schools getting block grant for more than eight years would be eligible for full grants-in-aid and be paid as per the Sixth Pay Commission.
Similarly, schools receiving grants for over six years would be eligible for 75 percent grants-in-aid. Schools receiving block grants for over three years would be eligible for 60 percent grants-in-aid and the remaining block grant schools would receive 40 percent grants-in-aid.