The Primary and Mass Education ministry has decided to send another proposal to the Finance Ministry, seeking a review of its decision to remove disparity in salary grade of primary school teachers.
Ministry sources said the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education sent a proposal on August 31 to the Finance Ministry to upgrade the salary bar of the primary teachers with a view to removing discrimination.But the ministry disagreed with the proposal on September 8 which angered around 4 lakh teachers of government primary school across the country.
Mentioning the logic of the proposal, the Primary and Mass Education Ministry has decided to resend the proposal to the ministry concerned to review its decision.
It was learnt that the primary ministry will hold a meeting with the finance ministry on September 20 in this regard.
Primary and mass education ministry secretary Akram-Al-Hossain said: “Resolving the grade discrimination and enhancing salary of the primary teachers is a long-time demand.”
“We sent a proposal to the finance ministry to remove the discrimination but the ministry disagreed with our proposal but we took decision to send the proposal further.”
He also said: “We will sit with the finance ministry on September 20 over the salary discrimination.”According to sources, headmasters of Government Primary School get the status of second class, but they are getting salary on 11th grade while the other second-class government officials are receiving salaries on 10th grade.
Besides, the assistant teachers of primary schools have taken to the streets repeatedly for upgradation of their salary grade, which they demand is one grade below the headmasters.
Before the national election in December last year, the ruling Awami league (AL) in its election manifesto mentioned that the salary discrimination of the teachers will be removed, said teachers.
The ministry officials said the primary trained headmasters are getting their pay in the 11th grade while the non-trained headmasters in the 12th grade. The ministry proposed giving salary to the head teachers in 10th grade. Besides, the trained assistant teachers are receiving salary in 14th grade while the non-trained assistant teachers in 15th grade. The ministry proposed 12th grade for the assistant teachers in their proposal.
The ministry has argued in the proposal that the primary teachers are playing a vital role to ensure quality education and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Recruitment of undergraduate and highly trained teachers is essential while ensuring high salary and status of the qualified assistant teachers is also needed at the same time.
The headmasters are getting 2nd grade status, so their salaries should be in 10th grade like other government officials.
At present, the government is appointing diploma engineers and diploma nurses under 10th grade. But a graduate degree holder, an assistant teacher who completed 18-month diploma in education is getting salary in 14th grade.
So, the salary grade of graduation degree holder trained assistant teacher should be in 12th grade and it will resolve the long-time discrimination between the head teacher and assistant teachers, according to the proposal.
Bangladesh Government Primary School Head Teachers' Association spokesperson SM Sayedullah said: “The place of teachers is above all in other countries but the dignity of the head teacher of primary schools in our country is second class while their salary is also below the mark.”
He said: “If the government does not give proper dignity to teachers, meritorious students will not come to primary school job in future.”
Bangladesh Primary School Assistant Teachers association president Mohammad Shamsuddin Masud said: “The rulling Awami League pledged to resolve teachers' grade discrimination in its election manifesto. So we halted our movement.”
“We want salary a grade below the head teacher that means if the head teacher gets salary in 10th grade, we demand salary in 11th grade for assistant teachers.”
“If the Awami League government does not fulfill our demand according to its election manifesto, we will be forced to go back to the agitation,” he added.
There are 65,902 government primary schools in the country. Around 3.25 lakh assistant teachers and 42,000 head masters are teaching at those institutions.