By: Gowher Ahmad Bhat
As it is not possible for the government to provide a job to each and every qualified youth in the government sector, the choice for the educated youth thus remains the private sector. Among the private sector employers only those flourish and nourish that are employee friendly and pay their employees with honorable and the daily life continuing pay or the respectable pay. A pay that is enough to suffice the economic and social needs of the employee. A pay by the virtue of which an employee invests all his potential for the betterment of the institution in which it is working. A pay by the means of which it does not need to do other assignments which otherwise could impede its basic work.
In jammu kashmir the largest private sector employers are the private schools. Thousands of teachers are working in these schools to impart education to the students. Every school tries to hire those teachers among the best qualified youth which will make the teaching learning process in their institutions a success and who will cater and mutate according to the modern trends in the education sector and nullify the challenges posed by the competitive environment. Those teachers that will satiate the thirst for knowledge of the modern day students. For providing the best education private schools have to hire the finest and pre-eminent teaching faculty. For hiring the best teachers the private schools have to pay a suitable salary to them. When we see advertisements of the private schools for recruiting the teaching staff in the newspapers, the qualification and experience against teaching each post is written in bold letters while as when it comes the turn of pay it is written in short and simple words like pay negotiable;. All of us know the untold story of this negotiable pay. These teachers are subject to interviews and other processes and are conveyed that they have to follow the terms and conditions of the institution at any cost without any compromise on basics. When there is the discussion on pay the aspirants are asked they shall be put on a trial for a month or more and only after that they will be provided a suitable salary till that they have to work with a minimum pay and prove their worth.
What is the suitable pay for a teacher who is to join a private school. A skilled labour earns at least Rs 25000-30000 per month and a non skilled labour who does not need an iota of education for instance earns a monthly sum of Rs 15000- 20000.Skilled laborers who have their own machinery and equipment earn more than the already stated figures. It is a known fact that the salary in most of the private schools does not touch Rs 15000. There are many private schools where the salary of teachers is below Rs 5000. Many reputed schools are paying a salary to their teachers that puts a question mark on their name and fame. Despite having huge earnings and emptying even the pockets of parents they do pay only peanuts to the teachers. These helpless teachers are neither having the provision of yearly increments nor are being provided soups on showing exemplary performance though there may be exceptions but only a few. When any teacher tries to raise against this injustice and exploitation he is terminated without any prior notice.
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Behind every educated and qualified youth there is the hard and sweat earned money of the parents and family. This investment is done so that a savior is nurtured who would shoulder the burden of the family at the time of need and such youth are seen as being the only hope especially in the families of the poor. Such youth as private school teachers cannot even buy medicines for their ailing parents within the budget of the salary they are being paid not to talk of buying other essential items for the family.
A school teacher has to remain upto date and equipped with the modern technological instruments to cater the needs of the modern day students. The hot question are the private school teachers in a state to maintain the dress code in the school within the range of their salary? not to talk of buying important articles required for the teaching learning process. In the Covid-19 pandemic from the last two years the financial condition of private school teachers became worse. Many private school teachers were not paid the salary even for months together and in some cases were not totally paid even a single buck there by making these teachers and their families vulnerable to starvation in the months of lockdown. A private school teacher complained that in the year 2020 he was paid the salary of only two months out of 12 months. The hardships faced by a private school teacher who was walking by foot, went viral on social media last year when a cab driver offered him lift and he narrated his ordeal to the cab driver and stated that he had visited the school were he works for the very purpose of getting salary but all in vain and had no money to be paid as fare to go back home. This is not the ordeal of only one helpless and poor private school teacher but a tale of almost all private school teachers.
The paying of low salary to the teachers puts a question mark on the very functioning of private schools. It rips apart the minimum wages guarantee act (MWGA). It is an exploitation of the asset of educated youth who are the life of successful nations. It is an insult with the education system and the corresponding centres. It is a joke with the literacy mission and its advocates. It falsifies the very purpose of imparting a sincere education in its totality and absoluteness. The school education department and labour department should come to the rescue of private school teachers and frame rules and regulations that will govern the basis of hiring of teachers by the private school owners. A salary fixation committee for private school teachers should be constituted and a respectable salary to be paid to private school teachers should be fixed so that the private school teachers don’t get exploited. There should be a provision for a suitable and respectable yearly increment for the PST. A grievance redressal cell should be put into place to look into the complaints logged by the private school teachers.
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