The Plight Of Underpaid Private School Teachers

(MENAFN- Kashmir Observer)
KO file photo by Abid Bhat

By Ummar Jamal

Farhan Riyaz , a private school teacher from Srinagar, faces the daunting task of running his household on a meager salary of 8,000 rupees. With a wife and two young children depending on him, Farhan's days are a delicate balance between teaching with passion and ensuring his family's basic needs are met. Despite the financial strain, Farhan pours his heart into his work, knowing that education is the key to a brighter future for his children. Like many private school teachers in the region, Farhan's dreams of a day when his hard work will be recognized and adequately compensated.


Farhan is
a fictional character, but his struggles are all too familiar to thousands of teachers striving to make a difference in the lives of their students.

The education sector in India, over the years, has seen significant growth and diversification. But, not much has changed for teachers in private schools. According to official figures, there are approximately 7010 private schools in the region, with 2710 located in Kashmir and 4300 in Jammu. These institutions range from primary to higher secondary levels, collectively educating over 7.5 lakh students and employing around 40,000 teachers and 25,000 non-teaching staff, including drivers and helpers. Despite their critical role In shaping the future of ours, private school teachers face severe financial and job security challenges.

The plight of private school teachers is often overshadowed by the broader discussions about educational quality and access. However, the well-being of these educators is intrinsically linked to the quality of education provided. The stark disparity in remuneration between private and government school teachers is disheartening. Despite possessing the same qualifications, private school teachers earn significantly less than their counterparts in government schools. This gap not only reflects a systemic undervaluation of their work but also perpetuates a cycle of dissatisfaction and demotivation among teachers.

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Private school teachers in Kashmir and Jammu often face a precarious employment situation. Without job security, many teachers are hired on a temporary basis, with contracts that can be abruptly terminated. It has come to light that some schools employ teachers from March to October, only to dismiss them before the onset of winter to avoid paying their salaries during the colder months. This practice not only highlights the profit-driven motives of certain school administrations but also underscores a severe lack of respect for the teaching profession.

The economic plight of private school teachers is further exacerbated by the fact that they often earn less than daily-wage workers employed by the government in the education sector. This disparity is a glaring indication of the systemic neglect and exploitation faced by private school teachers. The financial strain on these educators is immense, leading to a situation where many struggle to meet their basic needs and provide for their families. The resulting stress and discontent
has a direct impact on their teaching performance and overall job satisfaction.

The question then arises: who cares for these underpaid private school teachers? The responsibility for addressing this issue lies with multiple stakeholders. Firstly, private school managements must acknowledge and rectify the exploitation within their institutions. While the profitability of private schools is important, it should not come at the expense of fair wages and job security for teachers. Transparent salary structures and employment contracts, along with timely payments, are essential steps towards ensuring that teachers are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.

Secondly, the government has a crucial role to play. Regulatory mechanisms should be strengthened to ensure that private schools adhere to fair employment practices. This includes implementing and enforcing minimum wage laws for teachers and establishing monitoring bodies to oversee compliance.

Moreover, Teacher unions and associations also have a significant role in advocating for the rights of private school teachers. These organizations should provide a platform for teachers to voice their concerns and demand better working conditions. Through collective bargaining and negotiations, they can push for improved salaries, job security, and other benefits for private school teachers.

Parents and students, too, can contribute to this effort. As primary stakeholders in the education system, they have the power to influence school policies by demanding better treatment for teachers. Parents should engage with school management to ensure that teachers are fairly compensated and that their rights are protected.

Let realization dawn upon us, the issue of underpaid private school teachers is not just a matter of economic justice but a fundamental question of educational equity and social responsibility. Ensuring fair treatment and adequate compensation for these educators is essential not only to uphold their dignity and well-being but also to safeguard the quality of education for generations to come. By collectively addressing the root causes of this issue, we are not only solving the problem of private teachers, but are raising our educational standards. Teachers are nation builders, therefore, teaching should be the most rewarding profession.

Views expressed in the article are the author's own and do not necessarily represent the editorial stance of Kashmir Observer

  • The author is a Kashmir based columnist. He tweets at ummar_jamal and can be reached at [email protected]


Kashmir Observer

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