UCA News
Contribute

Kerala Catholic teachers fight communist govt's discrimination

The government has not approved appointments of teachers in church-managed schools since 2016

Kerala Catholic teachers fight communist govt's discrimination

Christ Nagar Higher Secondary School is one of many Catholic-run schools in Kerala. (Photo: Christ Nagar School)

Published: March 15, 2022 09:58 AM GMT

Updated: March 15, 2022 10:18 AM GMT

Catholic bishops have asked the communist-led government in the southern Indian state of Kerala to end discrimination against teachers in church-run schools in appointments, salaries and other benefits.

The government has not yet fulfilled its promise to appoint teachers in church-managed schools leaving hundreds of eligible Catholic teachers jobless, said Father Charles Leon, secretary of Kerala Catholic Bishops' Council’s education commission.

The government, which returned to power in 2021 after completing a five-year term, promised to meet the demands of Catholic-run schools ahead of the past elections. But it failed in its promise, the priest said.

Ucan Store
Ucan Store

The government has to approve the appointment of teachers in church-run schools that receive financial aid from the state. But the government “has been dilly-dallying when it comes to the appointment of teachers in Catholic schools since 2016,” Father Leon told UCA News.

Church managements in dioceses have selected hundreds of teachers but are unable to appoint them as the government has not been approving appointments for over six years now.

“It has deprived jobs to hundreds of qualified young Catholics. But a more serious issue is that of thousands of children who are denied quality education,” the priest said.

“We will continue with other protest programs if the government fails to fulfill its promise and accord us our constitutional rights”

Teachers in church-run schools in all 32 dioceses across Kerala protested on March 10 under the Catholic Teachers Guild.

“We will continue with other protest programs if the government fails to fulfill its promise and accord us our constitutional rights,” said C.T. Varghese, the guild’s general secretary.

The teachers also accused the government of creating hurdles in paying legitimate salaries, pensions and other benefits to teachers in church-run schools.

Christian leaders in October 2020 staged a 14-day hunger strike demanding an end to discrimination in church-run schools, especially in the of appointment of teachers.

The government then, ahead of the 2021 state elections, agreed to concede their demands. “But the government has not done anything other than make mere promises,” said Varghese.

The government blocked appointments in Catholic schools on the pretext that it has a pool of qualified teachers who will need to be appointed in vacant posts. “But our studies based on government data proved that no such pool exists,” he said.

The Christian community that introduced Western education in Kerala manages some 5,000 of the state-funded schools

The government again delayed appointments on grounds that it wanted to give priority to qualified people with physical limitations. “Now that excuse is also over as our schools too have recruited qualified handicapped people,"said Varghese.

The teachers’ guild has also vowed to intensify its protest until the government fulfills its promises.

The Church, Father Leon said, is “solidly behind the teachers in their struggle for justice.”

“We stand for providing good quality education to students in our schools,” he said, appealing to the government to support the Church’s education efforts for the poor.

Kerala has 12,644 schools, of which 4,504 are government schools. The state funds 7,277 of them while 863 are privately managed.

The Christian community that introduced Western education in Kerala manages some 5,000 of the state-funded schools.

Christians form some 19 percent of the state's 33 million people but are considered socially influential. However, at national level, they are a minuscule minority forming only 2.3 percent of 1.3 billion Indians, 80 percent of them Hindus.

comment

Share your comments

Latest News

donateads_new
Ucanews Store
newlettersign
Asian Dioceses
Asian Pilgrim Centers
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia