‘Exploitative enslavement’: Education dept looks to hire highly qualified youth for Rs 100 a day
Srinagar, Feb 13: Education department is looking to hire teachers in Kashmir at a paltry Rs 100 a day—less than half of Rs 225 the government is bound to pay its daily-wagers or unskilled labourers. On Tuesday, the Directorate of School Education Kashmir (DSEK) called for applications for 1,590 posts of contractual teachers on academic arrangement in several districts of the region. To the unemployed, educated youths’ utter shock, those selected would be paid Rs 3,000 a month. The salary offered is around one-eighth of what is paid to a regular government primary school teacher. The level of qualifications sought of the candidates makes the offer even more bizarre: graduation, as a basic qualification, will count for 70 of the total 100 points; the remaining 30 would be granted only to the candidates with B. Ed (10 points), M. Ed (05 points), Post-graduation (05 points), M. Phil (05 points), and Ph D (05 points). Each candidate will have to pay Rs 100 along with the application as “processing charges” and an affidavit attested by a first-class judicial magistrate. “The candidates will initially be engaged for a period of 60 days only or till the regular selection of teachers is made by the Services Selection Board, whichever is earlier,” reads the advertisement. For the unemployed youth like Maroof Ahmad, a Post-graduate in Sociology from Srinagar’s Nowgam area, the advertisement is “ridiculous and makes fun of the jobless youth while demeaning teaching as a profession at the same time”. “This is actually telling those with degrees that you are worth nothing,” he said. Similarly, the DSEK has called applications for over a thousand 10+2 academic arrangement lecturer posts, offering Rs 7,000 per month as salary. Again, the directorate appears to be hunting for the cream, given that the applicants will have to go qualify a screening test in addition to having higher grades and experience. The higher qualifications like Ph. D, M. Phil, NET or SET all carry weightage, indicating that only the highly-qualified applicants would eventually get the contracts. In October 2016, the Supreme Court of India ordered ‘equal pay for equal work’, ruling that temporary employees are entitled to regular pay scale, along with dearness allowance, as their peers in government doing the same work. It also held that denial of equal wages amounted to “exploitative enslavement, emerging out of a domineering position”. The ruling was made applicable to those engaged as daily wagers, casual and contractual employees. Apparently, J&K is yet to implement the verdict. Calling the Directorate’s notification a “humiliation”, President Private Schools Association, G N Var, said, “On one hand, the directorate asks the private schools to offer their teachers good salaries. But at the same time, the government itself plays with the emotions of the qualified, unemployed youth.” Asked how the department expected youth to work on such low wages, Commissioner Secretary Education, Farooq Shah, said they have sent a proposal to the Education Minister to revise the wages. “The Rs 3,000 salary is on the basis of ReTs (Rehbar-e-Taleem). However, we have moved a proposal to the Minister wherein we plan to fix Rs 7000 for teachers and Rs 15,000 for the lecturers. If it is approved, we will accordingly notify it,” he said.