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8 May 2018

BEd or not, pay hike

Mita Mukherjee, TT, May 08, 2018, Calcutta: The Bengal government has decided not to block the annual increments of teachers who fail to get a BEd degree within five years of joining service, scrapping a rule that the erstwhile Left government had introduced nine years ago.

The 2009 regulation had made it mandatory for all teachers to complete their BEd course within five years of being appointed. Failure to do so meant forfeiting increments.

Teachers completing the BEd course after five years were entitled to increments only from the 11th year of service.

The increments of nearly 15,000 teachers working in 14,000-odd secondary schools had been stopped since 2013 in compliance with the regulation.

But the school education department announced recently that every teacher, irrespective of whether the person had been able to get the BEd degree within five years of service, would get an annual increment. The increase in pay is with effect from May.

Funds have been released to the schools to clear the arrears of teachers with retrospective effect from 2013.

Every such teacher can expect more than Rs 1 lakh in arrears, a headmaster said.

The Trinamul government, which often talks about the strain of functioning with severe financial constraints, will end up spending a hefty amount on paying teachers higher pay along with arrears.

The decision to do away with the 2009 regulation is seen by many as an attempt to win over members of the still dominant CPM-controlled All Bengal Teachers' Association. During the Left Front's long term in office, the association had almost 90 per cent of the teachers in state-aided secondary schools as its members. A large section of teachers working in rural schools continue to owe allegiance to the association.

The school education department had first issued a notification in February, announcing the decision to give annual increments even to untrained teachers. The announcement that the benefit would take effect this month was made a week ago.

A senior official in the school education department said the decision had little to do with the rural polls. "We have scrapped the regulation because it has become obsolete. Each teacher needs to have a BEd degree anyway under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009."

The headmaster of a school said there were four teachers in his institution who hadn't got increments since 2013 for not completing the BEd course within five years of joining service.

Three of these teachers have since earned a BEd, the headmaster said.

But since the government has notified that the old rule has been scrapped, the teacher who does not have a BEd yet will also get an increment.

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