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Anantapur: Private teachers bear the brunt of pandemic

Teachers smart in honing skills
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Swarna Kumari, a teacher working in corporate school, demand the education authorities to conduct raids on the private schools and inspect their records and address teachers’ complaints

Anantapur: More than 6,000 teachers working in 1,500 private schools across 63 mandals in the district are the worst affected by the Covid pandemic.

They are languishing in penury with private schools not paying even half the salaries while collecting monthly and annual special fees from students in the name of school and office maintenance expenditure. Just to justify their fees collection, they are running online classes.

Giving false assurances to district education authorities about paying half salaries to their teachers on rolls, in practice no payments are being made in the schools.

There are three types of private schools claiming to give English medium instruction to their students.

First category is the corporate schools, who are minting school fees in lakhs from wealthy parents and even others who are paying them and landing in indebtedness even though it is beyond their means and ability for the simple reason that they want to see their children flying high in life.

There are more than 100 such corporate schools earning crores of rupees while their teaching faculty is paying paltry sums. Some managements are paying a pittance but taking signatures from teachers of paying high salaries.

The teaching faculty particularly those qualified with B Ed and M Ed degrees and PGs are being exploited by these school managements who have made money minting as their mission and objective of institutions.

The second category is the medium level 'B' category schools who also have very high student strength with decent buildings but these schools too are heartless towards teachers and are paying just a pittance to their teachers.

Even these managements citing no income during Covid are exploiting teachers.

Many teachers who were forgotten by their managements are doing odd jobs for their survival. Many highly qualified teachers are selling vegetables, tea and some are taking calls from NREGC work projects.

One Swarna Latha, a B Sc B Ed teacher working with a private school has been working as a gardener in a private nursery just to make both ends meet for her family. Speaking to The Hans India, she said the government authorities are being carried away by false assurances given by rougue managements who have taken the teachers for a ride.

While no payment during corona pandemic is one thing, even during normal times teachers are over exploited, sometimes misused and are paid a pittance.Swarna Kumari, working in a corporate school located on the Bengaluru NH told The Hans India that teachers are asked sexual favours in exchange for a decent salary hike.

She demanded that the education authorities conduct raids on the private schools and inspect their records and address teachers' complaints. If teachers' complaints are taken in confidentiality then many skeletons will rollout of cupboards.

Another teacher Rajeshwari, working in a middle level well established school opined the government cares least about the plight of private school teachers. A committe constituted by the then district collector Veera Pandian in 2018 to study fee structures in private schools and regulate school fee collection ignored the important aspect of teachers' wages.

No action was taken on the study report. The teachers who are supposed to be the life line of any education institution, has been ignored by both the government and institution managements.

The 'C' category schools located in mandal headquarters are not very sound financially but are far better on the teachers' treatment front.

DEO Samuel said that complaints of non-payment of salaries to teachers during the Covid lockdown have come to his notice. An action plan is under way to inspect schools with complaints and ensure justice to the exploited teachers.

He said stern action will be initiated on managements, who are collecting fees during lockdown and depriving teachers of wages.

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