6th May 2008 –Thousands of teachers belonging to several Indian states participated in day long protest in the scorching heat of May, in front of the Parliament of India. They gathered here in the capital, New Delhi under the banner of All India Federation of Teacher Organisation (AIFTO).
It was for first time Teacher Unions were on the streets to appose large scale appointment of Para-Teachers and to also demand enactment of law for universal free compulsory and quality education for all children. AIFTO with its strong 30 lakh membership in India has been closely associated with Right to Education campaign in India. It has also been part of National Coalition for Education with other Teacher Union and Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA).
The president of Global Campaign for Education (GCE) Mr. Kailash Satyarthi has addressed the rally. He said that “ education is not charity or a welfare measure, it’s a fundamental human right. The constitutional provision to give education as a right- 2002 is like giving a electric lamp to a person and not connecting the lamp with electricity". He added "GCE believes education is sole responsibility of state and it should employ qualified teachers wiht decent remuneration , therefore we appose any kind of ad-hocism including Para-teaching.
Mr. S.K Sanadhya, President of AIFTO said that “ The Right to Education Bill- 2005 has been cold shouldered by the Union of Government. When the right to Education would be incorporated as a Fundamental Right? Our question is who should ascertain it? This is constitution duty of the Central Government to protect the Fundamental Rights of the citizens of the country”.
Mr. Dharam Vijay Pandit , Secretary General AIFTO added that at least 500,000 Para- Teachers are engaged in “Multi Grade Teaching” in our primary and secondary school system and they are deprived of basic human right and are not pertaining required qualifications and educational training which would lead to degradation of teaching profession. Therefore we demand the government to look into the issue very seriously as it would hamper the education system and children.”
The other teacher union leaders who addressed the rally were Mr. Ramesh Joshi Dy. Secretary General Director, Foreign Affairs, Mr . Shankar Lal Somani, Treaurer , Ms Rashmi Singh, Chairperson National Women Committee, AIFTO, Ms. Shilpa Naik National Contact Person, NW Committee, AIFTO.