AL's pledges and govt pay scale
The government's pay scale for civil servants and teachers runs counter to ruling Awami League electoral manifesto.
In the run up to the last two consecutive general elections, the AL had promised to give separate pay scale for teachers. And in line with the pledges, the prime minister and education minister had also assured teachers on several occasions of a separate pay scale.
But the latest national pay scale once again proved how the electoral pledges were broken, prompting teachers to take to the streets demanding a separate pay scale.
"Improvement in the quality of education, depoliticisation of educational institutions, and a higher salary scale for teachers will be ensured.
A permanent Pay Commission and a separate Service Commission will be instituted for teachers," read the AL pledges it made before the 2008 election.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on August 2, 2011 had said separate pay scale for the teachers was under active consideration of her government, the state run news agency BSS had reported then.
She made that assurance when the vice-chancellors (VCs) of the country's public universities, led by the then University Grants Commission (UGC) Chairman Prof AK Azad Chowdhury, called on her at her office.
The education ministry in 2011 formed a committee comprised of educationists and officials of different ministries concerned to devise a separate pay scale. But there was nothing to show for it.
During her previous term since January 2009, the PM's announcement for separate pay scale for teachers did not see the light of the day till the end of tenure for her government.
In the run up to the January 5, 2014 parliamentary election, the AL-led by Hasina again made almost the same promise.
"Separate pay scale and permanent pay commission for secondary and higher secondary level teachers will be formed," read AL's latest electoral pledge.
Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid at a program on March 19 this year announced that separate pay scale with increased salary will be made for teachers.
The minister declared this at a seminar on development of education in the national representatives' meeting of teachers at the Teachers' Training College auditorium in the capital.
In mid June this year, the education minister sent letters endorsing the demand for a separate pay scale for teachers to top government officials.
He had sent separate official letters to the secretary of the President's office, principal secretary of the Prime Minister's Office, cabinet secretary, senior secretary of public administration, and finance ministry, calling for formation of separate pay scale for teachers.
However the national pay commission, led by a former Bangladesh Bank governor, strongly opposed a separate pay scale for teachers in its report.
"A separate pay scale for public universities will not be appropriate until they become self-reliant reducing their dependence on government's grants," it asserted.
The result is what we now see. Bureaucrats are happy with the new pay. But teachers of public universities and colleges expressed their resentment at the pay scale which is also applicable for them. They took to the streets again demanding separate pay scale.
The onus has now been shifted to a cabinet committee led by the finance minister to take a decision.