Teachers are the heart of any educational process. A teacher makes the world a better place by guiding them through the way and helping them learn life skills. They are assets in every society. However, the way our society is treating teachers is very disappointing and should be a moment of introspection for one and all.
Recently, I read a piece titled, “Ugly Tale of being a Private School Teacher in Kashmir” which made me restless.
One can imagine the ordeal private school teachers are going through by the headline of the piece itself. I believe it is better to work as a coolie rather than a teacher in a private school who are paid meagre salaries even after being promising and qualifying.
Delhi High Court Order
Last year, the Delhi High Court dismissed an appeal filed against the judgement dated 14th December, 2021, wherein the writ petition filed by three teachers seeking payment of 7th Central Pay Commission has been allowed and held that teachers of unaided private schools are entitled to the same pay and emoluments as those of government schools, in terms of the obligation enjoined upon the private recognized schools under the Delhi Schools Education Act -DSE Act, 1973. The schools cannot evade their statutory responsibility and are bound to pay the statutory dues, said the order of the high court.
The Directorate of Education (DOE) Delhi Govt issued a notification on October 17, 2017, requesting that all private recognised schools adopt the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission. As private schools failed to comply with the orders a writ petition was filed by some aggrieved teachers. The High Court observed that respondents were entitled to arrears of their benefits/salaries beginning on January 1, 2016, and also required the school to give them in accordance with the 7th pay commission rules.
The Delhi High court held that the writ petition filed by the three teachers was maintainable as it involves a public law element, inasmuch as, the original writ petitioners were seeking the implementation of Section 10(1) of the Delhi School Education Act, 1973 (DSE Act, 1973) which reads as :
“The scales of pay and allowances, medical facilities, pension, gratuity, provident fund and other prescribed benefits of the employees of a recognised private school shall not be less than those of the employees of the corresponding status in schools run by the appropriate authority “
This Court further believes that, given the recurrent nature of the claim, the writ petition submitted by the original writ petitioners is not precluded by laches or delay.
Karnataka Educational Institutions Rules
In Karnataka there is a general rule that teachers of unaided private schools are to be paid and provided benefits at par with government school teachers. This is substantiated by Rule 3(1)(b) of Karnataka Educational Institutions (Certain terms and conditions of service of employees in Private unaided Primary and Secondary and Pre-University educational institutions) Rules, 2005 . A circular issued by the Department of Public Instruction, Karnataka, based on the above rules has said that failure to adhere to this will result in penalty. However, no specification on the type or quantum of penalty has been provided.
On the basis of the Right to Education (RTE) Act, the Department of Public Instructions (DPI) of Karnataka, in April 2019 has stated that all private schools must pay a minimum monthly salary of Rs 25,800/- to primary school teachers, Rs 33,450/- to high school teachers, Rs 27,650/- and Rs 21,400/- to first and second division clerks respectively, and Rs 17,000/- for cleaning and maintenance employees.
Recognize services of Pvt School teachers
I am aware of the fact that Private Schools in Kashmir have gone through various odds and suffered losses over the years. However, things are moving in the right direction in the education sector for the last 2 years . I believe those private schools who have good earnings should pay decent salaries to their staff, especially the qualified, hardworking and brilliant teachers. The Govt must also recognize the services of private school teachers as they too should be given state awards every year. I had filed a detailed video report on this issue recently.
A casual labourer working in PHE or Power Department gets Rs 9000 per month and on the other hand a PHD or MSc with NET is paid mere Rs 8000 per month in a private school. This trend must end and those schools who are involved in these acts should be taken to task. At the same time Govt must also not interfere much into the affairs of private schools. I have been told that some officials in the Zonal Education Offices , Chief Education Officers harass and humiliate private school managements and demand unnecessary NoCs which otherwise are not produced by their own Govt run schools.
Children are the future of nations. They always need proper mentorship to become good human beings. For this they need a guide and a mentor whom we call a teacher. The teacher is like an information bank who delivers information to our little stars. They keep inspiring the children. Apart from imparting education they also inculcate values and knowledge to children and make them aware about the day to day challenges and the ways and means to address them. When we celebrate children’s day , we must not forget the role of our teachers as well, especially those working on meagre salaries in private schools. At the same time I also appeal to teachers working in private and Govt schools to do their job with utmost dedication as teachers truly are the backbone of society. They are role models to children, offer guidance and dedication and give young people the power of education.. Few years back BJP MP Rahul Kaswan had introduced a private members bill in Lok Sabha which aimed at providing for payment of minimum wages to private school teachers by school management and for matters connected therewith. The bill could not be passed. The J&K Govt can at least come up with a law on the pattern of DSE Act 1973 , but before doing so Govt must also support the private educational sector in J&K as well. There are very few aided Govt schools in J&K while there are thousands of such schools in Gujrat , MP, Karnataka, Rajasthan or Maharashtra.
- Views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the editorial stance of Kashmir Observer
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