PU lecturers continue strike

Pre-university lecturers boycott evaluation work at Seshadripuram College in Bangalore  on Saturday. KPN

It looks like there is no relief for PU students awaiting results, as a section of the PU lecturers have decided to continue their boycott of evaluation.

Even the politicians have gotten into the act, with former Education Minister Basavaraj Horatti and former Dy Chairman of Legislative Council Puttanna coming out in support of the lecturers. Emboldened by this, the  Karnataka State PU Lecturers’ Association has announced that its members would stop visiting the evaluation centres and hold a protest march from Upparpet to Freedom Park on Sunday.

Earlier, on Saturday, Secretary (Primary and Secondary Education) G Kumar Naik and PU Director Rashmi V Mahesh met the protesting lecturers, and assured them that they would announce a committee to look into the lecturers’ grievances. Despite this, the Association, at a meeting of the district office bearers held at Upparpet, decided to continue with the protest. Association President Thimmayya Purle said that they would call off the strike once the State government announces interim relief or the institution of grade pay for teachers.

“At the meeting, which was attended by nearly 500 members of the Association, we decided that we would not back down unless the government meets these demands”, he said. To signify their intent, the Association plans to hold a protest march from Chikkalalbagh in Upparpet to Freedom Park on Sunday, he added.

The lecturers are on a protest citing the inaction of the government in redressing the disparity in pay scales between degree college lecturers and PU lecturers. They have pointed that despite requiring the same qualifications, there is a disparity of nearly Rs 11,000 in their starting salaries. The Association has also pointed out that in neighbouring states such as Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, PU lecturers are earning Rs 10,000 more at the entry level. Currently, PU lecturers earn Rs 19,175 at the entry level, while in states like Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, they earn as much as Rs 30,000. The Association has blamed the fifth pay commission for the disparity in their pay.

‘Federation’ stays away

Even as a section of the PU lecturers have decided to go ahead with the boycott, another group of lecturers has condemned the action. The Karnataka PU Federation has decried the involvement of politicians in their struggle. Federation General Secretary G K Sriram said “The boycott of evaluation will harm the students unnecessarily. And by allowing politicians to take part in the protests, they have allowed them to hijack the process”.

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