Teachers threaten shutting down schools

Education Karnataka State

Government-aided institution teachers demand pension and medical benefits.

Government-aided school and college teachers threaten shutting down of schools by boycotting teaching if there is no government response to the pension problem. Teachers are not able to meet basic necessities as they are not provided with any pension and medical benefits after retirement.

Nijalingappa S., managing authority of the Pensionless Employees Association, said they have been protesting for their right to pension but there has been no response from the government yet. “We will shut down schools by not taking any classes if needed,” he said.

He further said that though only teachers from one district are protesting against this at Freedom Park for only one day, the protest is likely to increase as more teachers from other districts will join. “Soon, we will have teachers from all over Karnataka and its government-aided schools and colleges if the authorities do not give us our pension.”

Sangayya Soppimath, a teacher from NGO High School in Raichur retired in May 2020. He said that he cannot meet his family’s basic needs as he no longer has a source of income, “I have taught in this school my entire career, and yet after retirement, I don’t have any income.”

He added, “Being a teacher myself, I am not able to send my child to a good school.”

Another teacher said that he was suffering from diabetes but is not able to afford the necessary treatment because of the high medical expenses and lack of income.

According to Advocate Umapati of Karnataka High Court, “Government-aided employees are entitled to pension as they are government employees. And it is the responsibility of the government to look after them as they attain the age of retirement. This is injustice with the aided employees as normal employees get the pension and they do not.”

Higher Education Minister R V Deshpande mentioned in an article that if the Court’s order of providing pensions to them is implemented then the government will have a huge financial burden. In the interest of maintaining the state’s revenue and bills, government has decided to enact separate legislation in this case.

The Karnataka High Court had directed the government to pay them the pension and the Supreme Court had upheld the High Court’s ruling.

Teachers from government-aided schools and colleges gathered at Freedom Park to protest against the disrupted pension plans by the Karnataka government. The teachers are members of and were represented by the Pensionless Employees Association, who are planning an indefinite hunger strike unless the government responds to their pension demands before Dec. 19, 2022. Around 60,000 employees are registered under the Open Pension Scheme and New Pension Scheme but do not get their allotted pensions.

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