It was while taking up the petition on Tuesday that the high court, while expressing concern about the deplorable condition of primary schools in UP, had ordered all government employees to send their children to state-run schools so that their plight could be improved.
Government sources, however, said that Pathak had been given the termination notice before the HC judgment on August 13 and that he had been penalized for being absent from duty. Besides, the secondary education minister said that being a government employee, Pathak had no right to file a petition against it.
Pathak, however, remained unfazed and said his fight for the uplift of government-run primary schools in the state will continue. ” Central schools and Novodaya Vidyalayas are fine examples of how government schools can be run effectively and the same measures can be put in primary schools too, only if there is willingness on part of the government and its officials,” he told TOI on Thursday, adding, ” The government’s reason for sacking me rests on my absence from duty for a total of 12 days, which I think is flippant.”
The man at the centre of the raging controversy, who worked as a trainee teacher at a primary school in Pandeypur (Sultanpur district), said he had in fact got his termination letter on August 17, a day before the high court order. He alleged that he was being persecuted by the government for pursuing issues related to modernisation of primary schools and added that he had filed four petitions in different courts.
” I set up a front called Teachers’ Eligibility Test Sangharsh Morcha five years ago to fight issues related to teachers as well as mismanagement in government primary schools. We filed four petitions against state government’ s multi-level reservation policy. We were successful in drawing the high court’s attention towards irregularities in the recruitment of around 8,000 teachers. Even in our fight for the cause of Shiksha Mitras, we pushed the government on the back foot. Termination will not stop my fight for a change,” Pathak said.
On the HC order that all government employees send their children to state-run schools, Pathak said central schools and Navodaya Vidyalayas, which have produced bureaucrats, writers, scientists and even politicians, are good examples of how government schools can be run efficiently. ” Those who call the HC order imppractical are the ones who have made these primary schools impractical,” he added.