Private schools to pay teachers by the hour

After cutting salaries and letting go some of their staff, the managements of some private schools have decided that the remaining teachers on their rolls will be paid by the hour. Instead of monthly salaries, they will be paid depending on the number of online classes they conduct till schools reopen.

One principal of a school in Bengaluru said that this will come into effect from July. “We have decided to pay teachers based on their salary from the previous academic year. This amount will be divided by the number of working days, and then multiplying it by the number of hours they are teaching. So by this formula, a teacher whose monthly salary is ₹30,000, will get ₹250 per hour. If they take online classes for two hours per day, they will be paid ₹500 per day,” the principal added.

This has caused a lot of angst and distress among teachers who pointed out that a lot of preparation goes into one class, which needs to be taken into account. A social science teacher who had to take a 60% salary cut since May said that she was struggling to make ends meet. “And I teach in one of the most reputed schools,” she said.

In April and May, school managements had cut salaries of teachers claiming there was no source of income as they could not collect fees for the 2020-2021 academic year. Now, even though several parents have paid the school fees, schools have decided to take this measure.

The founder of another well-known school said the management was considering paying teachers for each class from anywhere between ₹250 to ₹500 per class. “But we will wait for the government to take a call and may start this model in a month or two if schools do not re-open,” he said.

He also added that although many parents had paid fees, there were several recurring expenditures that they had to pay including rent. “We also have to upgrade our online resources for these classes. Teachers are aware of the situation and the crisis that school managements are facing,” he said. He however said that they will continue to pay ESI and PF benefits to the teachers.

Officials in the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) said that according to the Karnataka Education (Second Amendment) Act, 2017, teachers employed in private schools can complain to the District Education Regulatory Authority (DERA) if they have any concerns related to payment of salaries. Based on the RTE Act, the State government had issued an order that primary school teachers should be paid a minimum of ₹25,800 a month, high school teachers should be paid at least ₹33,450 per month.

V.P. Niranjan Aradhya, fellow at the Centre for Child and Law, National Law School of India University said that this measure was a gross violation of the legislation. “This will also have an adverse impact on the quality of education imparted to the students. The quality of education is directly linked not just to qualifications of teachers but also the working conditions of the teachers,” he said.

Demand for online tutorials

Many teachers that The Hindu spoke to said that they had signed up to teach personalised online tutorials at the behest of parents. Many parents are opting for such tutorials as they feel that the classes conducted by schools are not enough.

Many teachers have also taken up small side businesses to make ends meet. “As the salaries of teachers are low when compared to other professions, they do not have savings. So many of my colleagues have started catering services, while some of them have started small online businesses such as selling masks,” said a teacher, who is a single parent of two children.

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Printable version | Oct 27, 2021 6:32:08 AM |

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