Srinagar: The teachers in the private schools across Kashmir are allegedly being paid meagre salary.
The private schools often remain in news over alleged illegal profiteering by giving a hike in tuition fees and other charges collected by schools. The move is, however, attributed to the annual hike in the salary of the private school teachers.
However, the schools, till date have never revealed the pay scale of the teaching and non-teaching staff besides the hike given to the teachers is never made public.
“The management of these schools hike the fees claiming that the salary of private school teachers is hiked with the same proportion. But we are exploited as we get a meager salary despite our hard work in schools,” said Sumaiya (name changed) who works in a private school in Baramulla.
“The salary of the teachers in most of the schools is less than what daily-wagers are paid in the government department,” she said.
The hapless lot are not even allowed to raise their voice over the meagre salary paid to them.
The issue came to limelight recently after a private school in Srinagar outskirts issued a recruitment notification for the position of driver and teachers.
Surprisingly, the salary of the driver was mentioned as Rs 12,000 while the salary for a teacher was mentioned as Rs 8,000. The recruitment notification was widely shared on social media and received criticism from all the stakeholders.
Another recruitment notice issued by a CBSE affiliated school in Baramulla had no mention of the salary to be paid to the teachers. The school had mentioned about their requirement but there was no mention about the salary exposing these private educational institutions for exploiting the teachers.
“Besides denying the annual hike, none of us have any job security as the private schools have changed the recruitment policies over the years. The teachers in most of the schools are hired in the month of March and fired in October,” said Ishrat (name changed) another private school teacher.
“The private schools have adopted the hire and fire policy only to deny the salary of teachers during winter months,” she said.
Such moves are tactfully managed by the school management to create mental pressure which forces many people to quit the job,” said Ishrat.
Mostly, the package of private schools teachers at present starts from Rs 8000 at the beginning and takes years to cross the five digit figures.
The teachers who are recruited for kindergarten classes are the worst victims in these private schools. Despite their hard work in handling the toddlers, they are provided a meager salary of Rs 8000 to Rs 10000.
“There are no set standards in these private schools on the basis of which teachers should be paid the salary or given an annual hike for it,” Qurat said.
Instead of giving an annual hike, these teachers are harassed in different ways by school management which forces them to resign. ”This is done to avoid claiming any hike in the salary. Once the teacher leaves, the school hires new teachers on the same basic salary and follows the same ill treatment,” she said.
As per the official figures there are around 5600 private schools in J&K including 2700 schools in Kashmir with an enrolment of around seven lakh students (in Kashmir).
Besides the teachers, other non-teaching staff members in private schools are exploited tactfully and are denied annual hike in their salary.
Over the years, the J&K Government has not framed any regulations for the schools for giving annual hikes in the salary of the staff.
Meanwhile, Chairman Private School Association Jammu and Kashmir (PSAJ&K) G N Var when contacted said the teachers and other staff working in schools join these institutions to meet their both the ends and should not be exploited by their respective institutions.
“The annual hike in the salary of teachers and other staff should be ensured by all the schools and the government should conduct a proper inspection of the school records in this regard,” Var said.
He said the salary should be credited to the bank accounts so that there will be transparency in the system and there will be a check whether the salary is hiked in proportion with the hike given in tuition fees of students.
Now that the schools are scheduled to reopen in the first week of March, all eyes are on the government to streamline the system in private schools and end the exploitation of teachers.