Salary of govt pry teachers lower than drivers’

Mohiuddin Alamgir

Assistant teachers in government primary schools, who are Class III employees, get paid less than what government transport drivers, office assistants, steno-typists and computer operators, who enjoy the same status, are paid a month.
Head teachers, who are also of the same status, however, get paid a little more than government drivers or other staff do.
Primary school teachers against this backdrop have for four years been rallying for an upgrade to their status to Class II.
They also went on strike for the last two weeks in September and on two days in October. They also went on a hunger strike at the Central Shaheed Minar.
The Bangladesh Primary Teachers’ Association general secretary, Anwarul Islam, told New Age that they would announce more agitation programme at a rally in Dhaka if their demands were not met.
‘It is a shame that primary teachers get paid less than drivers do. We are trying to upgrade the status of teachers,’ the state minister for primary and mass education, Motahar Hossain, told New Age.
‘We sent a proposal to the public administration ministry about upgrade to the status of head teachers to Class II. The ministry is making queries after queries. We are hopeful about the upgrade,’ he said.
He also urged teachers not to go for any agitation programmes hampering the academic life of students.
A high ministry official said that the government had also planned to increase the salary of assistant teachers.
The Bangladesh Primary Teachers’ Association is spearheading a movement, including work abstention, to push for their 12-point demands that include an upgrade to the status of primary headteachers to Class II.
The teachers’ demands also include an increase in the salary of assistant teachers, implementation of the National Education Policy 2010, extension of primary education up to Class VIII, a separate pay scale for teachers, appointment of teachers with adequate salary, appointment of employees at every primary school and reforms in the government primary school teachers’ welfare trust operation committee.
The association president, Abul Bashar, said that they were leading an inhumane life with the low pay that they get and the low status.
Teachers working in government primary schools have been Class III government employees since the nationalisation of primary education in 1973.
A non-trained assistant teacher gets salary in Grade 16 on the national pay scale with the basic pay of Tk 4,700 while a driver gets the salary with the basic of Tk 5,200. Non-trained head teachers have their salary in Grade 13 with the basic salary of Tk 5,500.
A high official of the primary education ministry told New Age that the government was going to upgrade the salary of non-trained head teachers to Grade 11 with the basic pay of Tk 6,400 and non-trained assistant teachers to Grade 13 with the basic pay of Tk 5,500.
The official said that the public administration ministry had given a positive nod to the status upgrade to Class II and salary increase and now it would now be sent to the finance ministry for approval.
The Bangladesh Government Employees’ Coordination Council joint secretary, Mojammel Haque, told New Age that employees such as government drivers, office assistants, stenographers, computer operators and head teachers all belonged to Class III.
There are about 37,700 government primary schools which employ about 2.5 lakh teachers.
The government is also working on the nationalisation of 26,200 primary schools and jobs of about 1,04,000 teachers.

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