The fate of private school teachers: True lies

Ningthemba Chingsubam
Many teachers employed in private schools and those working in public institutions under private arrangements have gone for four months without pay, making it difficult for them to put food on the table. Their counterparts on government payroll, however, continue to draw salaries. The economic situation of these teachers is very bad as they are not being paid. Let’s have a look at the dutiful service performed by the private school teachers in their schools.
The average school day in Manipur is between 6 and 7 hours per day, usually from around 8am until somewhere around 2pm.
Punctuality in attendance:
Every teacher should reach the school 15 minutes before the assembly bell. They have to put their fingers on the button of the biometric machine to mark their attendances and again they have to put signatures in the attendance register kept open in front of the Headmaster or Principal. If late the biometric machines and the attendance register are kept closed for the day and the attendance of that particular teacher is marked late with red ink and if a teacher is found attending the school late for three times in a month then he or she is awarded one Casual Leave (CL).
Regularity in attendance:
No teacher of the private institutions can fall ill due to which he or she is absent from the school. In case of illness, the period during which he or she is ill is tallied into the total number of Casual Leaves (CL). Whether he or she falls ill or not, if the teacher is found absent for three days then three casual leaves which equal to one Pay Cut Leave (PCL) will be awarded. There is no policy or provision for health insurance for the teachers in the private institutions. But in the case of the government employees, there is reimbursement policy. So, private school teachers cannot fall ill in any case. They should be both physically and mentally fit during their service period.
Duties at the school
The teachers should be confined in the schools during these school hours. Almost all the schools have seven periods of 45 minutes. One teacher is compulsorily to take five to six periods per day. In case some teachers are absent, then some of the teachers present have to take seven periods. Besides, during recreation, no teachers can take seat in the staff room. They should be on duty to be in company with the students playing inside the campus of the school. There is no time for the teachers to sit together inside the staff room since they are always busy checking class works and home assignments.
At the beck and call
In the service rules, it is mentioned that one teacher should be at the beck and call of the authority whenever he or she is asked for school matter. Since there is no job security for the teachers, they have to obey the authority to win his favour. In case he or she have not figured out, it is considered arrogant and action can be taken up against the teacher, may be suspension or termination or pay cut. At the time of appointment, priority is strictly given to the behavior of the teacher rather than qualifications.
Salary for teachers
In general the starting salary of a teacher is often less than Rs 10,000. Those who have been serving a school for 10 to 20 years may get Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 as monthly salary and those whose service period ranges from 20 to retirement they may get not less than Rs 30,000. But no teacher can get the exact amount mentioned above in hand as salary because:
PT (Professional Tax): While getting the meagre salaries the teachers of the private institutions also face the imposition of the Professional Tax as mandatory. It is a mystifying tax. Here, I’d like to ask one question, if I own a bus, shall I pay its tax to the government or my driver will pay for it ? People may not have the knowledge that teachers of the private institutions also pay the so called Professional Tax.
EPF (Employees’ Provident Fund):
Some amount is also deducted from the monthly salary of a teacher as Provident Fund. It is a thrift and self-reliance for the teachers. But it is also a kind of deduction from the amount he or she is to get as salary.
PCL (Pay Cut Leave):
It is a rare case that a teacher is not free from a Pay Cut Leave. In one or the other way, a teacher gets PCL. This cut off amount goes to the Account of the authority.
In spite of all these cases, the teachers of the private institution get job satisfaction only when they get honour of being Gurus from their Shishyas. People know that private school teachers play a great role in the upliftment of quality education.The contribution made by the private school teachers is beyond explanation. But in this COVID-19 disaster, the hard laboring teachers are not less than the daily wage earners. During this nationwide lockdown, all the teachers are facing great problems in the maintenance of their families since they have not been paid as usual. The authorities of the institutions are reluctant to give salaries as they have not collected monthly fees from the students. They cannot raise their voices against their employers because of job insecurity. The Private institutions have their own way of working. They have their own service rules by which the teachers will strictly abide.The teachers of the private institutions are not permitted, as mentioned in the service rules, to form associations. They don’t have the chance to organize protests of any kind against the authority for any reason. The present government has also officially announced the directives to the school authorities to pay the salaries of the hard pressed teachers but the school authorities do not put the directives into action. The government has not yet taken up any action against the private school authorities’ act of disobedience.