Srinagar, May 13: Saima Wani (name changed), a private school teacher has not able to meet the monthly expenses of her family for the last three months.
The only breadwinner in her family, she had joined a reputed private school in February after her father’s retirement. However, since the lockdown, she has not been paid.
“Last these months have been testing time for my family. I am the only one in the family who is earning. My father’s salary has been reduced to half after retirement. I was supposed to support my father. But for the last three months I have not received my salary though we are regularly teaching kids online,” said Saima.
Another teacher at a private school in Kupwara said he too wasn’t paid any salary since March and didn’t have any other means of livelihood.
“I was paid Rs 9000 per month but since March we have been working without salaries. My father used to work as a street vendor in Batamaloo but first Article 370 shutdown and now Covid lockdown has left him without work for months now,” the teacher said.
The Kupwara teacher had to leave an earlier job at a Srinagar school for similar reasons.
“I used to teach English to higher classes in a Srinagar school but I left it after August last year when we weren’t paid any salaries for months. Then (in Kupwara) I joined this school hoping that things will be better, but I have been dissappointed here too,” he added.
His former colleague in the Srinagar school confirmed that they still hadn’t received their salaries.
“Believe me we are working equal if not more even while being at home. We have online classes, this and that meeting without any specific timing. I mean sometimes I start my day at 9 am and end at 9pm,” he said.
Another private school teacher wishing anonymity said he had to borrow money to meet his expenses. “Private school teachers have no job security. We are overburdened with work but are paid peanuts. To make things worse, we are not paid on time. We too have a family to feed,” he said.
These are not isolated cases. Thousands of teachers are working hard but they have not been paid salaries for months now.
Private School Association, President, G N Var admitted that the teachers and non-teaching staff have not been paid.
“We are well aware of the situation. Teachers need not worry. We urge parents to pay the fee so that teachers are also paid. For underprivileged children who have no source of income, the association will help them in the best possible way,” Var said.
Principal Secretary to government education department Dr. Asgar Hassan Samoon said private schools need to pay salaries because their teachers are working hard.
“Parents have to pay tuition fees so that teachers will also get their salaries. However, annual charges and other fees should not be charged from the children,” he said.