Inspired by ‘Chowkidar’ campaign, Assam teachers turn ‘drivers’

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Guwahati, June 16: Inspired by ‘I am also a Chowkidar’ campaign, thousands of Assam teachers have started ‘I am also a driver’ drive to protest against the state’s education minister.
Besides adding the prefix on their Facebook pages and Twitter handles, many of the protesting teachers have also shared posts with the caption “I am also a Driver’ on social media platforms.
Assam teachers are upset with the minister Siddhartha Bhattacharya comparing the teacher eligibility test (TET) certificates to driving licences while justifying the need for its renewal.
The certificates are issued to those who qualify TET. Qualified teachers are employed in government-aided lower primary and upper primary schools in the state.
The test, first conducted in 2012, was valid for a maximum period of seven years.
While some of the Assam’s 41,000 TET certified teachers have been regularized, others have been demanding the same. The state government is preparing to conduct the test this year-after a seven year gap. At present, posts of 36,500 teachers are lying vacant.
“We respect drivers and their profession. But we are protesting against Bhattacharya’s comment by adding driver to our names, much like what BJP supporters did during the last election to show support to Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” said a teacher from Jorhat refusing to disclose his identity.
“My comment was just a comparison to show that like driving licences, which need to be renewed after a certain period, TET qualified teachers also need to get new certificates after seven years,” Bhattacharya said while defending his comments on Saturday. The minister’s comment has also evoked a reaction from All Assam Students Union (AASU), the state’s biggest student body.
“Ministers ridiculing teachers isn’t new to the state. But the latest one by the education minister is a disgrace to the position he holds,” said AASU general secretary Lurin Jyoti Gogoi. (HT)