Status of Teachers

MT 60 Yrs Ago — 3rd Year – No 96 — Friday 8th June 1956

Since the establishment of the Teachers’ Training College a new problem cropped up in the Education Department — the problem of conferring a status on newly appointed teachers. On leaving the college some students consequently became Government School Teachers while others became Aided School teachers. In conferring the status it appears that the Department was not guided by any fixed principle. Hence the discontent that has not been removed completely up to now.

Had the Education Department granted the status of Aided School Teacher to those students who were sponsored by the Educational Authorities and that of Government School Teacher to those who were not so sponsored but who joined the Training College directly, everything would have been alright. The whims and fancies of the head and sub-heads of the Department were bound to bring troubles in their train.

Students who felt that they had had a raw deal protested. But the Department remained adamant. And those dissatisfied teachers went on teaching. What else could they do after they had been trained to teach? Two of them, however, were so convinced that they had been unfairly treated that they resigned. They were the two Misses Gujadhursingh.

The sacrifice of those two young ladies has now borne fruits. True it is that the Legislative Council and the District Court of Rose Hill had to resound with their names before Government accepted to find a remedy to a long-standing grievance. But better late than never.

As matters stand, we find that only half a loaf has been given so far. We are happy to learn that the two young ladies have been re-employed as teachers with the status of Government School Teacher and we are confident now that the settlement of their back-pay will come in due course. What pains us is that the status of teachers employed since 1952 only will be revised.

May we ask why the year 1952 has been chosen arbitrarily? We are glad to note that in Council, last Tuesday, Hon Boolell pressed for a complete revision of the status of teachers appointed since the establishment of the Teachers’ Training College. If no justice were done to any teacher, everybody would have suffered in a sort of doubt as regards his or her right. But now that Government has accepted that the Education Department has gone wrong in conferring status, would it not be cruel to leave untouched the harm done to teachers employed before 1952?

And may we know what Government will lose in extending the justice which so many voices are so justly claiming?

* * *

The Electoral Register

The electoral register for the municipality is taking shape. The registration officer is busy with his assistants. So are the leaders and their agents.

The total number of claimants has been staggering. No one thought that it could reach 26,613! How could one be so liberal even in one’s imagination when the figure in 1953 was 20,119? And we know what had been done to reach that figure.

How can the rise of about 6,500 be explained? In spite of all the precautions taken by Government, fraud cannot be entirely ruled out. Then there is also the increase in population since 1953. But what has considerably contributed to the rise is the exhaustive canvassing carried out by our political parties.

It has been estimated that out of the number of registered claimants 5000 may be challenged. We get that piece of news from a reliable source – Le Cernéen.

Hon Mohamed has, on the other hand, said in Council that 12 days will not be sufficient to scrutinize the list with a view to raising objections. He wants a month to check the registration effected in 22 days. His party machine must be busy selecting Labour suspects. That is comparatively easy. We suppose they want to find out who from among them have crossed the floor to the other camp…

We are afraid that an abuse will be made of the right of challenging claimants. The deposit of Rs 10 required for every challenge is not going to scare away the capitalist party. On the strength of its funds that party is going most probably to challenge as many claimants as it can in the hope of gaining some advantage in the ensuing confusion.

The figure 26,613 must have caused headache at the headquarters of the Parti Mauricien. The Labour Party carried the day when only 14,514 voters went to the polls. Fraud apart, the rise in the number of electors points to a Labour victory.

* * *

The MBS Advisory Board

We are grateful to the Editor of Le Mauricien, Mr Marcel Cabon, for supplying an answer to the question we put in our leader “More about the MBS”. Speaking about the absence of any information regarding the Advisory Board in the report of the MBS, we asked: Has the Board not done anything during the year under review?

Writing last Saturday on Committees and Boards appointed by Government, Mr Cabon says: “Moi qui vous parle, je fais partie du deux Commissions de l’Etat. L’une est celle de la radio… Les deux ou trois fois en deux ou trois ans que cette Commission a siégé, nous n’avons jamais eu à nous occuper de ces choses (littérature, musique, théâtre). Il s’agissant d’appareils de transmission ou de plans pour de futurs studios… Et, bien sûr, ce qu’on nous demandait, ce n’était la plupart du temps, que d’approuver ce qui était déjà en train.”

Is it any wonder that the report of the MBS is silent on the activities of the Advisory Board? If the Board has no say in any matter why not break it up rather than allow it to exist ignominiously?


* Published in print edition on 23 March 2018

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