On Teachers’ Day, educators in Bihar’s state-run schools made a powerful statement by wearing black bands and badges to work. This act of protest was in response to a range of issues they are facing, including punitive measures taken against some of their colleagues who dared to speak out against the government.
Unity in Protest
Fifteen teachers’ associations came together, representing the concerns of educators from across the state. In a unanimous decision, they chose to protest against the government’s actions that they viewed as detrimental to their profession and well-being.
Raju Singh, the convener of the TET Primary Teachers’ Association, spoke to PTI, saying, “Teachers of all 75,309 state-run schools wore black bands and badges to work on Teachers’ Day. This symbolic act aimed to draw attention to our collective grievances.”
“We want immediate withdrawal of all departmental action, including suspension, initiated against the teachers who raised their voices against recent decisions of the government, including the reduction in the number of holidays during the festive season,”
Singh further emphasized their demands, stating, “We are steadfast in our resolve. We want all contractual teachers to be regularized, providing them with job security and stability in their careers.”
Protecting Teaching as a Profession
The protesting teachers were resolute in their actions. They participated in all academic activities at their schools while wearing the black bands and badges. Their dedication to their students and profession was evident as they continued to deliver quality education despite their concerns.
Singh also highlighted another critical demand, saying, “We demand that the department immediately stop engaging school teachers in other governmental activities, including election-related works. This diversion from teaching responsibilities is affecting the quality of education.”
He added, “Teachers have already started resigning in areas where they are being engaged in non-teaching activities. The department’s decision to withdraw the controversial order on holidays due to our pressure is a partial win. Our agitation will continue until all our demands are accepted.”
A Show of Dissent
To further amplify their message, the teachers plan to burn effigies of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav outside block offices across the state on September 9. This symbolic act aims to draw attention to their grievances and send a clear message to the state’s leadership.
The Education Department made a significant announcement in response to the protests. On Monday, they withdrew the controversial order to reduce the number of holidays during the upcoming festive season from 23 to 11. This decision was seen as a response to the teachers’ pressure and their unwavering determination to protect their profession.
This protest by teachers in Bihar highlights the importance of educators in society and their determination to stand up for their rights and the quality of education they provide to students. It serves as a reminder that the teaching profession should be respected and supported to ensure the best possible education for the next generation.