One of the main goals of the Department of Primary and Secondary Education is stated to be “to equip children with specified knowledge, skills and values; enable them to become good human beings; and [to be] productive, socially responsible and make them achieve excellence in whatever they do”.

However, in the residential schools run by the Departments of Social Welfare and Backward Classes and Minorities, which are meant for students from deprived sections of society in Dakshina Kannada, it appears that an atmosphere that can help teachers achieve this goal is lacking. Many teachers with whom The Hindu spoke said that factors such as lack of job security, irregularity and disparity in salary and work pressure were in fact de-motivating them.

Many teachers spoke on condition of anonymity fearing harassment by officials and even loss of job, as they are on contract. A majority of teachers in these schools have been appointed by the Karnataka Residential Educational Institutions Society, a wing of Social Welfare Department, or the zilla panchayat or the Nehru Yuvaka Kendra (NYK).

Several teachers in Morarji Desai residential schools, including a few principals, have been appointed on a 10-month contract. While there is no job security for them, the non-teaching staff in these schools are recruited on a permanent basis, says Aravind Chokkadi, a long-serving teacher at the Morarji Desai Residential School in Mundaje.

Muralidhar, its principal, and Umakanth, teacher, said that teachers salaries were delayed.

Mr. Umakanth said that for the past six years, salary had not been paid on time. It was delayed by 15 days to a month, he said.

The salary of teachers appointed by the zilla panchayat and the NYK is Rs. 6,600 a month and those appointed by the society is Rs. 8,500. They pointed out that teachers with the same qualifications and working in the same school are drawing different salaries. Teachers appointed by the Department of Primary and Secondary Education are drawing Rs. 12,000 a month.

Ashrama schools

A teacher at the Government Ashrama School for Scheduled Tribes at Balila in Sullia taluk said that the teachers in ashrama schools (on a par with primary schools), who are also appointed on contract, drew only Rs. 2,250 a month. In ashrama schools, a fresher as well as a teacher who has put in more than five years of service, drew the same salary, he said.

C. Bhoja is the headmaster-cum-warden of four ashrama schools managed by the Integrated Tribal Development Project (ITDP) in Belthangady taluk.

He does not get any travel or dearness allowance for shuttling between the schools.

Teachers at Morarji Desai schools said that each of them had to invariably teach for at least six to seven periods daily against three to four periods of their counterparts in regular schools.