Bilal Bashir Bhat
SRINAGAR: Despite the fact commercial educational institutes including top notch private schools in Kashmir are making mammoth profits in form of tuition fees and other numerous charges, the teachers at these schools mostly females are continuously getting exploited in the worst possible ways like lack of job security, underpaid salaries and most importantly the low salaries.
At the most expensive schools a teacher’s monthly salary is less than the monthly fee paid by a single student.
It has been observed that in the absence of proper regulation and monitoring on government level a very high percentage of private sector teachers in Kashmir are dissatisfied with their working conditions, poor salaries and autocratic administration. In most of the cases teachers prefer to remain silent to save their jobs.
A teacher of a reputed Valley based school pleading anonymity told Kashmir News Bureau that&-” we are not even allowed to form a union to address our issues,” adding, this is the main reason why oppression and exploitation of teachers goes unchecked in private schools.
“In some schools, the salary of teachers is as low as Rs 5,000 compared to government school the salary is not below 30,000. The salaries are paid in cash and no appointment letters are issued to the teachers. So, they could be removed any time by the school managements,” she added.
Manzoor Sultan, a former principal of a local private school told KNB that private schools preferentially hire female teachers not because they are on a mission of women empowerment, but because women in Kashmir are available for teaching jobs at a nominal remuneration thus saving millions of rupees annually by exploiting the compulsions of needy women and societal norms.
“Most of the private schools are operating like Mafia. The government norms are flaunted regularly. One hand government has formulated fee fixation committees but their norms are not being implemented on ground. The parents are charged exorbitant fees on one pretext and other. The private school teachers are at the receiving end. They work tirelessly for hours with little respite and small wages. Most of the private schools do not make the teacher salaries public. The teachers have no regular benefits of medical and general leaves. In many cases the salary is not being paid for months altogether, while in other cases salary is usurped on a number of pretexts. There is no proper grievance redressed, so most cases of harassment, violations and denial of rights go unheard,” states Mushtaq ul Haq Sikandar, a writer by profession.
It is open secret of our society that the top notch schools in valley are money minting machines, but the treatment melted with its teachers should not be the concern of teachers fraternity but also collectively of all of us as this will surely effect the standard of our future generation. (KNB)