Education International
Education International

India: unionists hold mass demonstration for quality public education

published 16 May 2013 updated 17 May 2013

In early May, the All India Primary Teachers' Federation (AIPTF), one of EI’s national affiliates, organised a picket in front of the Indian parliament in New Delhi to raise awareness amongst the public about the need and importance of quality education for all.

AIPTF: Highly qualified teachers still needed

On 4 May, the mass rally was attended by nearly 72,000 teachers from all over the country demanding full implementation of the Right to Education Act within the prescribed time frame and abolition of the Government’s policy on Private Public Partnerships in School Education.

The picketers’ demands included:

-              Abolition of teachers’ eligibility test

-              Mainstreaming of contract/para-teachers and providing professional training for them

-              Restoration of the pension scheme

AIPTF Secretary General and EI Vice-President, S. Eswaran, addressed the rally, welcoming the success of the picket before the Parliament. He said that it would put enormous pressure on the Indian Government to accept the AIPTF’s demands.

“AIPTF welcomes the large numbers of teachers and concerned citizens who turned out, outraged that the Right to Education Act is still not implemented just two short years from 2015, with so much work to do and highly qualified and motivated teachers still needed,” underlined S. Eswaran.

AIPTF President Shri Ram Pal Singh and other AIPTF representatives were invited by the Human Resources Development (HRD) Ministry to a meeting about the demands on 5 May. The HRD Minister promised to take up the discussion with the highest officials in the HRD Ministry.

EI: Good-faith negotiations needed

“This is an impressive demonstration of power and influence for AIPTF,” said EI’s Regional Chief Coordinator for the Asia-Pacific region, Shashi Bala Singh.

“The contract teacher issue is a big issue in India, which can only be addressed upon full implementation of the national Right to Education Act. EI urges national authorities to listen to teachers’ requests and engage in good-faith negotiations with their representative organisations.”

‘’EI also believes that the public-private partnerships’ provision in India undermines quality, equity and accountability in education’’, Bala Singh added.